Motorbikes are a major form of transportation and they zoom and weave in and out of traffic going all directions and speeds with entire families and all their worldly possessions piled on them (seriously, I’ve seen a family of 4 and a dog with countless bags of groceries and furniture all on one bike.)
I’d hoped to maybe get a bicycle once I got here but while we were in our orientation we kept getting the counsel to not even try a bike or a motorcycle as the traffic is just too crazy and it’s too dangerous. Imagine my surprise when we got here to Udon and the other teachers who were already here told us we’d be getting a motorbike from the school to use.
I’ve always had a secret love for motorcycles. I’ve dated a couple of guys who drive them and, like playing an instrument, it automatically makes them just a little bit hotter than guys who don’t. Maybe it’s the bad boy persona, the feel of living just a bit on the wild side. I’ve joked for years that I was going to sell my car and get a Vespa or a mo-ped or something. So this is my chance to try it out. And hopefully not die!
We were taken to a parking lot and given a 2 minute tutorial on how to drive and then about 15 minutes of practice before getting the keys to our own bike and being sent on our merry ways. No license, no test, nothing. (That right there ought to give you an idea of how well the traffic works!) The only bike left was a tad bigger than a mo-ped, ie it’s super heavy. I had one incident with the bigger bike trying to make a u-turn and misjudging the weight and turning radius. I ended up with a few nasty bruises but made friends with a couple of nice Thai guys who came to help me lift the blasted thing and put it upright again. But aside from that little episode I’m getting the hang of things and can weave in and out of traffic with the best of them.
|They have parking lots full of them, reminiscent of the bikes in Amsterdam. You'd better know which one's yours!|
|I'm pretty sure this sign says "Ride at your own risk!"|
|gas is often sold at the roadside markets in bottles like booze...just don't drink it!|
|a terrible picture of my own Red Beast|