musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

Hillary Clinton & Me


I just found out that I have at least one thing in common with Hillary Clinton. According to a wire service article that I read this week, Hillary Clinton hasn’t driven a car in nearly 20 years. Neither have I! Here is an excerpt from the article:

“I have to confess that one of the regrets I have about my public life is that I can’t drive anymore,” Clinton said in a keynote speech at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans.”My husband thinks that’s a blessing, but he’s the one who should talk. Last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996, and I remember it very well,” the former first lady continued. “Unfortunately so does the Secret Service, which is why I haven’t driven since then.”

I gave up driving after I moved to Thailand in 1996. But unlike Hillary, I don’t miss the experience of driving or the hassles of car ownership. I don’t miss the hassles of repair and maintenance, filling up the tank, trying to find parking spots, and making insurance payments. I was never an avid motorist, and I never had an interest in motor sports or any of that crap. A car was just a car; something that got me from Point A to Point B, and nothing more.  I didn’t care how it looked or how it “handled.”

Even if I did have the urge to drive a car, or a vehicle of any type, I just don’t see any sane reason to do it in Bangkok. In addition to the fact that the streets of the city are already impossibly congested, living in Bangkok you don’t need a car. The city boasts a wealth of convenient transport options for those that don’t drive. You have the traditional mix of taxis and public buses, uniquely Asian options such at the tuk-tuk or song taew trucks, and more modern modes such as the Skytrain and subway systems. You can also bypass the streets entirely and take to the waterways of the city, using the klong boats and river taxis. And then there is the grand savior of them all; the motorcycle taxi. Yes, even when traffic doesn’t seem to be moving at all, those always dependable moto-sai drivers can weave through lanes of stalled vehicles and get you to your destination in record time. Just don’t get upset if you smell like the underside of a bus when you arrive. Hey, it ain’t clean, but it’s efficient!

And when all else fails — such as those times during rush hour when the Skytrain is insanely packed asshole-to-elbow with weary commuters or when it’s pouring down rain and taxis are impossible to find and riding a moto will get you soaked — I resort to another dependable mode of transport: walking.


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