Apparently I hired my own personal driver. How was I to know. I paid 3800 baht for a tour–sounded okay. It would get me downtown and then over to wat Phra Kaew, (the temple of the Emerald Buddha) and the Grand Palace, and then over to the sleeping, or reclining Buddha. Anyway, those were the pictures I pointed to in the tour display.
I signed up, got my pack, and waited for people to start waiting for our bus. Instead Ai, pronounced "A," showed up and lead me out through a side door– bowing, and assuring me through other humble gestures, and kindly sounding Thai phrases, that I was to come with him. I followed him to a well-used Volvo. He opened the door, and I, dutifully, got in.
Ai knew at least 5 English words–"hello, meet, wait, thank you." And I knew 1 Thai word and a name. Sawatdee-khrab, which means hello.(If you’re female you say, Sawatdee-kaa), and Chao Phraya, the river that runs through Bangkok and the one I wanted a boat ride on–if there was time before it got dark. Other than Ai singing along to Thai pop songs, (he knew all the words) we rode in delicious silence, me grinning at every new sight, and Ai, once in a while, looking over at me and smiling back.
Ai was amazing. He would get me through a maze of madness– three-wheeled taxis, bicycles, scooters and cars…I thought New York had crazy traffic–to a temple or some such place, point me in a direction, then disappear. I would forget the time, walk and wander (and wonder), and then when I came back to the vicinity, he would spot me and be at my side.
(Superlative couple of days. Will post much more, as soon as I find a way to charge my laptop battery with 220 Bangkok volts. Just know this: the Emerald Buddha is a fake, he’s made of jade!)
Sweet, I did get the boat ride! (Yes, Ai got me my own personal boat driver) The "River lady" sold me a couple Thai lagers. So perfect, on a 36 degree Bangkok day. (Bought one for the boat driver, he thanked me and bowed profusely.)