Monday, March 06, 2006

And You Think YOU'VE Got it Bad?

When you're sitting in stalled traffic on I-5 or I-405, just cheer yourself up by knowing it could be worse. Last December 4, 2005, Bangkok had the worst "normal"* traffic jam on record. Traffic was blocked on an "expressway" between the city and the airport. The time motorists sat in their cars without moving? Eight hours.

People ran out of gas while stalled. Other's abandoned their cars and started walking. Of course that only served to worsen the situation. Many tickets and tow trucks later, things got cleared around midnight.

A couple years ago, it took me three hours to go the eight miles from the city to the airport by bus, barely catching my flight five minutes before they shut the airplane door. Yes, I could have walked (maybe jogged) it faster.

It is common when visiting Bangkok to have your taxi driver turn off his motor in a traffic jam--often the traffic won't move for 20-30 minutes at a traffic light. That's at EVERY intersection! Of course, the taxi's meter keeps running! So, it's not unusual for me to pay my fare up to that point, get out and walk. Usually you can flag down a motorcyclist and offer him 20 baht to take you between the stalled rows of cars (praying no one decides to open their car door...). So, count your blessings!

Also, another reason I enjoy living in the "Appalachia" of Thailand--Isan--far, far from the madness!

*"normal" excludes traffic jams due to natural disasters such as hurricanes (Houston 2005), fleeing attacking Martians (New Jersey, Halloween of 1938), etc.

5 comments:

Chaichakri said...

It is equally bad in KL too. And I proved it today. Last week, I took 45 minutes to drive back in the jam.

Today, I decided to BREEZE WALK home from work.... about EIGHT km to my house. It took me only one hour and 10 minutes... amazing..... hee hee

JD said...

Thanks for the confirmation that I defintely should have walked from downtown to the airport! I'll remember that next week when I plan fly out of Don Muang!

trangam said...

8 hours is the time to 'renew your motions!' Terribly dangerous... & scary.

But I think you should happen to visit Bangalore one day... the fastest growing city in the country is so so slow to move in... its a shame.

witheringintuition said...

That is amazing! I will remember that next time I get grouchy because I am stuck on the bridge for 1/2 hour.

Chaichakri said...

HOW come no new updates on ur trip to Singapore and Vietnam?