Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bangkok Taxis

If you like the above, check out a small slideshow of images originating from the interior of Bangkok taxis, click here .

For those unfamiliar with Thailand, these sculptures, images, relics, flowers, etc., are near-ubiquitous in Thai vehicles. Ordinary Thais place them inside their cars, but the taxi drivers are known to lay them on thick, sometimes utilizing every square centimeter of the dashboard. In one case in the slide show, you'll see a rear-view mirror rendered near-useless by the images attached. If a taxi lacks these "pra", it's probably rented, or the driver is a Muslim.

Thus far, the pics are the simple result of having a camera onhand when a driver has particularly nice "pra". Then I photoshop them. I've considered running out to, say, Mor Chit bus station, where you might find 2,000 taxis in queue in the morning, and snapping pics in production-line style. Maybe something would be lost in the process. Maybe not.

I have a theory: the more "pra" in the taxi, the more reckless the driver. These images, after all, are supposed to have protective qualities. One famous monk, however, has remarked that the Buddha exits the vehicle at speeds over 80 km/hour.

Sometimes, you see these images interspersed with stuffed animals, bobble-heads, cartoon figures (ultraman, snoopy, Yosemite Sam, Disney characters, etc.). Westerners might see an adjacent Mickey Mouse as a defilement, but Thais don't think that way.

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