Tuktuk- Well, that’s what they call the auto-rickshaws here in Bangkok city. I love this city. The modern culture tries its best to cover the ancient one, yet, it fails to do so. The temples of Ganesha, Varuna (the demigod of air) indicate in volumes the impression of the Hindu culture in Bangkok, The city, though keeps moving at a fast pace.
I was told, if I am in Bangkok, I must not miss the ‘Tuktuk’ experience. A spacious auto-rickshaw, meant for one simple purpose..Comfort. A line of caution here..Those who feel Indian auto-rickshaws charge more, that’s an illusion. You can still find water for free in India, nowhere else in the rest of the world. Elsewhere, it’s available in bottles at premium. The auto-rickshaws here equally charge more Baht from people outside.
I booked this auto from outside my hotel ‘Indra Regent Hotel ‘ to go to Siam Center Mall. I had a surprise bargain coming for me though. The driver said, if you go to one of the shops I recommend you, I will charge you 10 Baht, or else the charge is 80 Baht. With a grin, I said, Ok, we can try that.
So, he took us to a place called the ‘Gem Production Co. Ltd.’. It was a gem gallery with a small workshop on one side, where about 50 workers slogged relentlessly to polish some of the most worthwhile gems..rubies, topaz, pearls, American diamonds, sapphires, to name a few and a huge gallery on the other, for keeping the visitors thinking about what to but and what not to. My wife was quick though, she had made her choice already. Few sets of black as well as white pearl rings which she believed could be a good souvenir for everyone back home, and I like her choice.
We got some good deal and waited at the counter where we were treated really well, until it was time for the check payments. That was smooth and easy. The receptionist was kind enough to click a snap for us as we awaited for our package to come.
In next 15 minutes, we were on our way to the Siam Paragon Mall. As promised, he charged 10 Baht, though he had fixed up his deal already. On the way back to our hotel, we ended up paying 80 Baht, but that was ok. I guess, the guy on the return journey was yet to explore that business opportunity. For me, it was time to smell the brew and sip the lather of the ‘Starbucks Coffee’…
To be continued………