Monday, October 4, 2010

Lady Cab Driver

Cab drivers here in Thailand are usually men.  There aren't laws against women driving cabs, but nor are there laws that prevent someone from only hiring a man or woman for the job.

Tim and I caught a cab home from the airport last night.  Instead of getting in the normal taxi queue, we just went to the arrivals area to catch a cab that had just dropped off someone.  This saves the 100 baht (~$3) fee that you pay at the queue stand.  The taxis can't linger long at the arrival gate, but you can usually catch one.

The first guy didn't want to take us, so we took another cab that was dropping off a man.  The driver was a woman on the heavy side, with short curly hair and a plaid type jacket.  Tim had noticed that she had hugged her foreign male passenger as he exited the cab and asked in Thai if she had dropped off a friend.

At this point she proceeded to tell her story to Tim in a loud voice.  She would tell this to several other people that she called on the forty minute ride home, each time in a loud voice, and each time just as excitedly as the first time.

The previous passenger was not a friend, but rather a gay man with whom she had just formed an immediate bond and shared a deep and soulful conversation.  The guy had told her about his sexuality because he correctly guessed that she was a "tom" (lesbian).  He was so moved by their conversation that he invited her to London and gave her a $13 tip.  The fare itself was only $6 or $7, and considering that tipping is not part of the culture here, it was extremely generous.

She's telling this story in Thai, but is obviously very excited and loud.  I look at Tim questioningly, and when the cab driver stops talking, Tim starts to tell me part of the story.  She's speaking in a normal voice, but she doesn't get two sentences out when the cab driver just starts talking again; completely oblivious to the fact that Tim was talking.  She did this a few times; ignoring the fact that anyone else was speaking.

After she was done telling Tim the story, she started calling people on the phone repeating at least some of the story.  Whatever her and her new found friend had talked about, it had excited her.

When we come home via the expressway, we always take the back gate.  The cab drivers almost never know that way, and its a bit convoluted to explain to them how to get there.  They always ask left or right, but its actually straight and then turn on this little u-turn road that they can't see.  I always manage, but I need to learn to explain it better.

The one nice thing about having Tim in the cab is that she can explain it in Thai.  This cab driver was either so caught up in her moment or just stupid because she couldn't follow the directions Tim would give (as in turn right here).  It was funny because I actually have an easier time explaining it to other cab drivers with my limited Thai.

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