I read with interest the most recent edition of the Chiang Mai Mail where
the government announced a crackdown on the bad driving habits of
Many of my farang brethren were pretty steamed. One actually said to me—and
I quote—“Getting driver training from Thais is like attending a beauty
school where the headmistress is a frog.”
I dissent, as I thought this was a considerate effort to promote public
safety. As a measure of my gratitude, I would like to repay this kindness in
pursuit of the selfsame goal. So here’s this farang’s tips for Thai drivers.
· When you slammed on the brakes in the center lane as you were doing 80 kph
because you saw a noodle stand that looked promising, you did not park. You
just quit driving.
You would do well to learn the difference. (On another parking tip—parallel
parking is never done in drive.)
· Those white stripes on the road are not superfluous markings as a result
of a corrupt politician and a ne’er do well nephew in the paint business.
They denote what are known as “lanes”. Straddling these stripes in your
Toyota Tacoma is not best practice.
· If you are driving ahead of me, your job is NOT to weave slowly to insure
that I cannot pass you.
· If you are driving behind me, your job is NOT to drive like Dale Earnhardt
after a fight with his wife and try to pass me and grandma ahead of me.
· I have learned that it is your practice-upon which I have no comment-to
enter traffic slowly and claim the right of way until you have successfully
brought the arterial traffic to a standstill. I accept this, but would urge
you that upon blaocking all lanes to no long pause to admire your work.
That’s just showing off.
These helpful tips brought to you by The Mad Farang. Safe driving,
The Mad Farang- he is not angry—he’s just befuddled.
Howling dog in the
I live in a quiet mooban, well mostly quiet except for one dog that howls all
the time. Sometimes, he starts up the other dogs in the neighborhood and then it
sounds like we are out on the high plains surrounded by a pack of wolves.
I have gone to this person’s house and asked him nicely to try and do something
about his dog but his response was a shrug of the shoulders and the offhand
comment that it was not his dog but his kids. Well, considering his children are
3 and 5 years old, it is highly unlikely they are able to take any kind of
responsibility for this dog. I really cannot understand why this man, a
westerner I should point out, is so irresponsible and lackadaisical about
something that does indeed irritate the entire neighborhood. When I run into
other neighbors, both Thai and foreign like myself, we all discuss this one dog
that never stops howling, barking or yapping.
I am seriously considering filing a complaint with the developer of the project
but I confess, I am a dog lover and feel bad for the dog. It is not the dog’s
fault the owner is so terrible. My second option is to go steal the dog and give
it to someone who cares enough to keep it company and to train it right.
So, a plea to everyone out there who gets a dog for a not very good reason, if
you are not going to take care of your dog, if you are not going to be
responsible for its behavior and if you are not going to train it to behave,
then don’t get one!!
Dog lover in despair
Why so negative?
I have lived in Chiang Mai a few years now, out of town a little bit in San Sai
and I must say the negative attitude of some of my neighbors is just
astonishing. The cool season has started and rather than enjoy it like everyone
else they have already started complaining about the smoke season! In the smoke
season they complain about the upcoming hot season. It seems that they can’t
enjoy the wonderful weather when they have it.
The cool weather is my favorite time of year; in fact I think it is everyone’s
favorite time of year. It is so clear and the humidity is low, the temperatures
cool so that I can take a brisk walk around my neighborhood, I even go to Doi
Suthep and hike the trails there this time of year.
One of the things I love most about Chiang Mai is the local people and their
positive outlook on life. Certainly they can take the “mai pen rai” attitude to
extremes but it is certainly much more pleasant than constant complaining.
Sunny outlook on life
and efficient places!
I normally do not like to complain as I find it a bit much for me, as a guest,
to complain about the way things are done in a country that treats me quite
graciously but there are some signs that are really quite dangerous. My partner
cut his head on one the other day, they are not set a foreigner height at all.
The owners of these shops need to learn that people of all sizes walk down the
pavements, not just short ones!
I am talking about those vinyl banner type signs in front of many shops. They’re
either blocking the pavement, so you have to walk in the road, or they are
precariously placed so the bottom of them is at eye level... with poky-out bits
of wood on them!
The election signs are also quite bad, many of them blocking the pavement
entirely. Of course, those will be down soon, but the candidates should tell
their campaigners to consider the people using the city when placing these
Thank you for listening to my rant, I much prefer to rave. So, in that light, I
would like to recommend a great little print shop opposite the organic farmer’s
market at CMU. Brilliant place - just walked in with my memory stick, plugged
into a computer, printed off my document, went to the photocopier, ran off 15
copies, handed over 8 baht, and was done. No fuss, no problem, just sorted. I
like that kind of efficiency!
Chiang Mai visitor