Bursting bowels and stunts gone wrong. Eleven tuk-tuk pilots share their most memorable experiences behind the wheel
Got a big load? Want to get somewhere fast and cheap? Bangkok's tuk-tuk drivers are the go-to guys. Sure, they are known for hassling passers-by, palming cheap gas coupons for dropping hapless foreigners at tailors' shops and inflating prices well beyond the local rate for anyone who doesn't know better.
But they're not all bad. And given that almost everyone in Bangkok has ridden in a tuk-tuk at least once, you can bet a lot of weird stuff happens in them. We hit up tuk-tuk drivers to find out some of their most memorable experiences on the job.
Name/Age: Keaw, 54
Work neighborhood: Nonthaburi pier
Most memorable experience: "A drunk guy hired me to take him and his friend to Tao Pun. When we got there, I told him the fare was 50 baht. They said 'no way, that's too much, we'll give you 30.' We argued for a few minutes, then they beat me up and ran away."
Neighborhood: Soi Rambutree
Most memorable experience: "A backpacker told me he'd give me 100 baht if I would pop a wheelie with my tuk-tuk while him and his friends were in the back.
Neighborhood: Pak Khlong Flower Market
Most memorable experience: "A woman asked me to drive her to the karaoke bar to get her husband, who was there drinking. 'Wait here, I'm going to catch him cheating,' she ordered.
"She ran in, drags him out into the tuk-tuk, yelling at him for messing around on her with one of the workers in the bar.
Neighborhood: Wong Wian Yai
Most memorable experience: "Once I forgot to take my fare to his destination. This guy was in the back of my tuk-tuk, but I totally forgot he was there and drove to my own home.
Name/Age: Boonyong, 42
Neighborhood: Tao Pun
Most memorable experience: "One day, a group of four or five people hired me to take them to a restaurant. They were all really well dressed, probably teachers or government employees.
They all climbed in, but the last woman was taking so long. Turns out she was taking off her shoes and climbed up the step in her bare feet. Everyone was like 'what are you doing?!' 'Oh. Yeah. Just got confused for a moment,' she laughed.
Name/Age: Lert, 53
Neighborhood: Saphan KwaiMost memorable experience: "Once somebody hired me to pick up a Chinese lady from the hospital and drive her to Yaowarat. She couldn't speak Thai, so started shouting at me in Chinese.
"I just thought she was old and crazy, as I couldn't understand her, so I ignored her. When we got to her home, her family came out to get her and she told them what happened.
Neighborhood: Bo Bae
Most memorable experience: "During the New Year holiday, when the government allows people to use the expressways for free, I took a risk and drove onto one even though tuk-tuks aren't allowed.
"Unfortunately a policeman stopped me, and tried to make me give him a few hundred baht or he'd give me a ticket.
Name/Age: Nitikorn, 42Neighborhood: Pak Khlong Flower Market
Most memorable experience: "Nobody believes me, but I swear this woman put a magic spell on me and made me drive her somewhere for free.
"She asked me to take her to Bo Bae, but the whole way she didn't say a word. When we got there, I was frozen. I tried to make myself ask for the money, but couldn't speak. I felt like I couldn't move.
Name/Age: Yong, 45
Neighborhood: Bang Sue
Most memorable experience: "I was driving along one day when I saw these technical college students fighting. One group was about to attack another, and they had weapons including knives.
Name/Age: Aoun, 54
Neighborhood: Khao San RoadMost memorable experience: "I was driving around the Khao San area really late at night looking for fares, when I saw a really drunk young foreigner stumbling down the sidewalk trying to flag down a taxi.
"I stopped and watched him for a while, and saw that nobody would pick him up. I felt sorry for him, so I offered to take him back to his hotel, though he said he couldn't remember where it was.
-- Edited by Roaming reporter on Tuesday 20th of March 2012 01:36:21 AM