I am spending a lot of time in the car here in Bangkok. Fortunately, I don’t have to drive myself, because I would have flipped out so many times already. The stress would have killed me – simply put, it would not be good at all. Riding a bicycle or a motorcycle is fine here, but driving a car sucks big time. The traffic is all on the wring side, the controls are all switched and on top of that is the pure fact that Bangkok traffic at its best, smoothest moving is still worse than Minneapolis or any German traffic at its worst. BKK traffic at its worst means you are stuck in the car for hours without ever moving. I am not exaggerating. I have been getting out of the car a few times now to walk through traffic on the highway to the BTS. This may sound insane, but it is not, because, when cars don’t move, there is no danger.
Anyway, long introduction. On the bright side, I have plenty of time to watch the world go by from my car window. Last week I saw next to the highway a crammed residential area – shanty town, that had dump truck after dump true parked next to each other. Where does the trash that 10.5 million people produce go?
I saw a store that sold live fish in little plastic bags.
Right next to that shop were two motorcycle taxi drivers playing a round of Mahjongg, laughing about me taking their picture – crazy Farang! Admittedly, I am not sure if these guys really play Mahjongg (or if Mahjongg is even spelled like this).
For the last image we go to Germany, to my home town Mannheim. People from the south of Germany are in general a lot more outspoken, open-hearted and direct than the Germans north of the Main river. I know I am generalizing, but my mom is from Hamburg (way up north and my in-laws are from the north as well and they would agree with me on this).
Anyway, as I grew up in Mannheim, I had a great-aunt. Aunt Fine (pronounce the “e” at the end as in [pheene]). She used to have a stand at the market and was just overall machine gun mouth, just like her sister my dad’s mom. Well, she was the one who first told me about a long gone cafe in Mannheim next to the market place, that the public simply called “Cafe Asshole” – I am not making this up. You can imagine how fascinated my pre-teen mind was by that name. I asked why it was called like that. She explained, that in the center of the market place is a statue of the Roman god Mercury wrestling or doing whatever the Roman gods did to pass time. Anyway, since Roman gods by tradition were always skimpily dressed, if not to say nude, dangling freely and wildly, our Mercury statue has a bare ass. Now it just so happens that Mercury’s bottom points to the exact location where the entrance to the cafe used to be – hence the name cafe Asshole. Cool right. My dad also told me about another restaurant long gone. It was originally called “Zu den zwölf Aposteln” (The 12 apostles), which the Mannheim natives re-christened to the “twenty-four ass-cheeks”. Doesn’t leave anything for misinterpretation.
So without any further ado, the Mannheim market place with Mercury.
Enjoy the weekend and have a god next week.
Hasta luego muchachos.