Sunday, June 7, 2015

Photo of the Week 11: That Time I Got a Motorbike

I may have forgotten about doing Photo of the Week for the best, um, three months or so, but I am back in the blogging game. So one of the most terrifying exciting things that has happened to me of late is the acquisition of a motorbike. (Sorry Dad. Seriously, don't worry, I'm a fantastically slow driver!) I'm just renting one for the moment. Not everyone knows this, but I have had an extreme fear of motorcycles and motorbikes for quite some time, so this is kind of a big deal for me. When I first got here, it was all I could to not hyperventilate when driving as a passenger. Driving one myself is huge, and while it is often still a really scary prospect, I have overcome wanting to have a panic attack every time I think about getting on a bike. My life has become so much less sweaty with this one act, so I am absolutely loving it! I mean, look at this sexy thing:

Driving in Thailand is much different than driving back in the States. To start, they drive on the opposite side of the road here. There are basically no traffic laws, but the rule of the road to remember is that you should yield the right of way if something is bigger and faster than you. People consistently drive on the wrong side of the road, pass on the left or right, and pile their motorbikes high with people and things they might be transporting. I have seen one person and two dogs on a motorbike on more than one occasion, and at most I have seen five people riding one bike. It is technically illegal for the driver to not wear a helmet, but most people disregard this. Or worse still, the driver has a helmet and their six-year-old kid does not. Personally, I want to be as safe as possible so I always wear a helmet (see Dad, no reason to worry!). 

It's not necessary to have a license or anything to drive a bike. I have seen some very young-looking children driving, probably about age 12, which scares me a bit. When I picked mine up with a friend, she showed me how to start it, where the brakes and lights were, and then I started driving immediately. It was an incredibly simply and inexpensive process, which means that anyone can (and does) drive a motorbike here.