I can’t tell if crime is getting worse or if I’m more clued in. I heard about an increase of purse snatching on Ratchadamneon Soi 5. Apparently you know when there has been a crime committed because suddenly the police show up to patrol the area.
I’ve also learned that my friend has been harassed (grabbed) while cycling around the moat. She’s an attractive bubbly (yeah I called you bubbly) farang but one of the things you learn about Thai men is they are not aggressive…
When I lived inside the moat I felt confident that Chiang Mai wasn’t the kind of place where I would be attacked or violated. So I walked, cycled, biked confidently. My friend Nick seem to think my Thai looks made me more of a target but I’m not the novelty white girl so maybe I’m safe.
It doesn’t matter though. No girl likes to hear about another woman being violated.
I’ve also notice more aggressive behavior on the roads. Part of the problem is Thais are driving their new cars like they would motorbikes. They want to be in trucks and SUVs on roads not made for larger vehicles. I’m sorry, but the US has got some f’n spacious roads in comparison. Any prior complaints about folks back in the States not knowing how to drive, I take it back. I take it all back.
Car culture is so new here, it’s frightening. I can’t tell you how many times I hear grinding gears, see ill judged U turns, cars weaving in and out impatiently, and my favorite, people trying to park. Everyday drivers make red truck drivers look professional and red trucks are infamous for not seeing anybody but their customers on the side of the road!
I hate to complain though. You know me. I want to be more zen zen when I drive. I don’t want to get angry when a truck can’t stay in his own goddamn lane and it’s me and the shoulder, on a turn, at night. I don’t want to care if a car goes around me at the traffic light because they don’t want or can’t wait for the light.
But then I think of my father. He died because someone couldn’t wait. At a four way intersection, the bus just had to go around and I want to say, Fuck You! I know I’m not patient and there are plenty of times when I’m sure someone is thinking, “Women drivers.” But I also know I’ve been driving since I was 13, took a driving class in high school and basically come for the school of defensive driving.
Sometimes I just tell myself that those drivers are more important than me and that makes me giggle. Or that they have to really get to a toilet. I’m not in a hurry. I don’t want to be in a hurry. Of course, driving fast on the motorbike is fun but I’m just feeling so sensitive about traffic lately!
And don’t get me started on the weather! The pollution is so bad right now. Sigh. Maybe it’s the poor air quality that has gotten everyone in a fix and it’s effecting me too. But I think something needs to change. It’s commonplace for a student to come in and tell me that they have been in an accident. Most expats I know have a motorbike story.
Did I mention the pollution??? Are we crazy to live in Chiang Mai???