Being my first solo trip to Thailand, I didn’t quite know what to expect from Thai peoples attitude to someone travelling in a wheelchair alone. Previously I had been with Justin and their reaction was one of utter disbelief, to my surprise, their reaction was not one of inaction but of natural curiosity but also of wanting to help if or when I needed. Although at times ‘help’ is definitely not what I got, the intention was there but not the execution. I even had people in shops offer to to wash my dirt covered hands. The best description for Thai attitude, and throughout Asia, is of having no preconceived ideas about people who use a wheelchair.
An inexplicable question is our desire to eat weird and, not always wonderful food when in strange countries. We feel the need to sample the local delicacies, in Thailand not simply rice dishes or noodles cooked with a new vegetable, but grasshoppers, plain and simple, no sauce – just a bag of bugs !. Which obviously, stupid me, has to eat – when all I really want is a hot dog from Seven Eleven.
As they say : When in Rome ………., But this was Bangkok – the sex capital of the world. So my obligation was to sample some of the infamous sex shows. On one of my trips to an area known as Pat Pong, I saw something which certainly wasn’t an everyday occurrence. On my obligatory post-drinking binge to McDonald’s I saw an elephant queuing to get a McDonald’s. Bangkok is a huge city which is highly developed, not a Jungle. But I swear, all this fully grown mammal wanted has his cheeseburgers, and we’re probably not talking a ‘Happy Meal’ !. Being the generous person I am, I shared my Chicken Sandwich with him which I don t suppose did much to halt animal starvation !.
A Tuk Tuk, a small, 3 wheeled, motorcycle carriage, type thing – Not the easiest form of transport for someone with a wheelchair. After a previous unsuccessful attempt to ‘mount’ one on a previous trip to Thailand, I wouldn’t let the cheapest mode of transport beat me. So hailing one to take me the half mile to my favourite drinking haunt, I decided just to sit on the back seat and hang the wheelchair from the back. The plan failed miserably, I ended up perching on the floor holding onto the wheelchair for dear life – But did a tuk tuk defeat me ?, it definitely did not.!