Woody Packard

Words + Pictures

My Three Shirts

Tuk Tuks and Drivers, Outside the Royal Boss
On Monday, our second morning in Bangkok I set out from our hotel to find a watch battery, armed with instructions and something called a walking map. Although it says walking map right on the front, and it shows the Mandarin Hotel, my departure point, and the MBK Center, where I was assured there were watch batteries, there is little detail in between to help you know if the destination is in front of you or behind. What the walking map does do well though is, acting as a small flag, alert locals to the fact that you are a lost tourist. And so, as I checked my map, a pleasant man came across the street and asked in very good English, "Can I help you?"

I told him that I was looking for the MBK Center. He asked me what I needed there, and I told him about my watch battery.

"The MBK Center is closed this morning. It is the Buddha's day." Then, "You might be able to find one at the Thailand Center. They are open today."

I asked for instructions, and after explaining in a way that I figured I could expand on as I got closer, the man offered to set me up with a tuk tuk (three wheeled motorcycle taxi) who would get me there. I explained that I would rather walk, that I was in no hurry.

"You have to be careful. There are many people here who will take advantage of foreigners. I am a policeman and I see it all the time. I will fix it with the driver so that it will only cost you 10 boht."

Ten boht, Thailand's currency, is roughly thirty cents. Surely it is worth paying him to take me. I can walk more after I get the battery. I climbed in, and in a few minutes pulled through some old iron gates, past half a dozen expensive black cars, and up to a few steps that led to a thick door where two women greeted me. It was not what I was expecting. More...

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My Three Shirts

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Tuk Tuk

Tuk Tuk Traffic

Royal Boss Tailors

James and Rom


Rom, Order Book

Drivers, Waiting


Next Customer

Sizing Up Next Passengers