Once upon a time while walking along the streets of Paris and Rome I was absolutely bewildered by the traffic on their streets. It seemed to me that there was a complete chaos on the road. Nobody observed the rules, everyone was screaming and constantly beeping.
Special occasion was a circular motion around the Arc de Triomphe on The Avenue des Champs-Élysées. In the dusk of falling twilight I was observing the blurred round dance of bright headlamps and there were only two questions in my head: «How haven’t they crashed yet?» and «Why haven’t they crashed yet?». But I didn’t visit Asia yet...
Every person, blogger, traveler writing about Asia considers it is to be his sacred duty to enlighten or rather even to frighten future fresh tourists about the most careless and absolutely insecure traffic on the streets of the Eastern Hemisphere.
About the fact that to cross the street is a whole little adventure. Extreme one. That no one stops on the red traffic light. That they ride without helmets and indeed rarely observe the rules of their own and other people's security. But in principle it can be told that the 'informers' sometimes even underestimate the whole picture.
Bangkok belongs to transport. Not cars or buses. And not even colorful, dressed up like a Christmas tree tuk-tuks. On the red traffic light they all are equal and stand still in excruciating, sun-fired traffic jams.
Here the roads are ruled by two-wheeled creatures – scooters and bikes. They are the most brisk, mobile and crazy. Only red light at a major intersection can stop them at least for a while. But the slightest loophole or the possibility to continue the movement will be immediately used.
There is a feeling that the owners of two-wheeled horses drive according to their own special rules most of which they actually don’t even know themselves. They move in their own stream maneuvering between heavy unhurried buses and dusty cars like the waters of a mountain river sweep between boulders and stones.
The flow of scooters never stops. And while everyone is standing they are riding. Non-stop. It is possible that during those half of an hour while the car slowly crawled a couple of kilometers through the evening traffic the same biker drove near it several times having done all his business and happily hurrying home.
From the outside it all seems to be just the wildest chaos or some kind of Brownian movement where each permutation of participants is absolutely random. But in any chaos there is a special order that is incomprehensible from the outside. And so that to feel it you need to jump into this stream. In the case of Bangkok it's not even tuk-tuk. It is a place behind the taxi driver of a motor scooter.
It can be wildly dangerous. But exactly in such moments you learn to trust the world. And you let the speed and movement fill your whole being. The road has its own energy and it is particularly easily flow into you if you move on two wheels.
Heart is pumping through the veins adrenaline and wild euphoria. There are no words to describe this feeling. As if being back in the good old company of friends with whom you have done crazy things.
And now this entire legion gives a tribute to the great road praising its concrete skin. You wend in the general flow being simultaneously an invisible part and an important component. You are the vibration and the heat of bike engine. You are the speed and the wind in the hair. You are the smile of a young woman on the scooter nearby. You're the roar of engines and the overflow of impatient hooters.
After an unsuccessful attempt to get elegantly off the scooter you give the helmet and money to the driver and sincerely thank him. You have just washed in the wild streams of Bangkok, passed the rite of initiation. Now the beast is not so terrible and its growl and hum arise only pleasant memories. You were inside and now you know that as long as you trust you're safe.
Any phenomenon or happening can be considered a metaphor. It can be found in the traffic of Bangkok or in fact any other city. After all from the outside the movement seems so terrible and dangerous but when plunging into it, giving yourself to the stream we all safely reach our destinations. Maybe this is the secret and the main principle of life — choose your own best route but at the same time remain a part of the whole and just observe the safety rules for yourself and the others.
From chaos on a concrete canvas we will plunge into chaos on water and will ride on the Chauphraya river)
Have a good day, MarrySav!)
This post is also available in: Russian