Thailand Sojourn: TaxiBlackRace

I have tried to write before on two topics. Only to get lost into something else. That means that I have lost two precious thoughts that should have appeared here. But nevertheless, I have this chance now.

It has been almost a week since arriving at Bangkok. A place that has brought Africa very close to my mind. But also amplified that fact, that I am indeed black and deserve to be segregated. and be victimised. Maybe not for my sins, for if I was treated as me I swear I will be counted cleanest, but for the generational sin that my race has committed. And if not to fault my generation, then mechanisms and apparatus of victimisation and stereotyping.

I got to the airpot late night. Before the airport story. I had business class treat for the very fist time. Not that I paid for it. But that I was standby customer, taking the risk to travel only if there was space left in the plane. Thanks to my friend of my friend who works with airline.

The joy and treatment with caution and delicate care of business class flight melts away at the clearance to enter Thailand. One half beautiful half not beautiful lady had her decision made that I’m a suspect. First step, ‘you need get your stamp from health office, you’re from Africa you know’. Yea, I know but I haven’t been to Africa for the last six years, please check my documents well, I live in Tokyo! No, people from Africa must be cleared by health officials. Thanks to my silence revolutionary tactics, I proceed to health office. What surprises me is the fact that nothing of my health status is checked. I only get a stamp without a single question! What does the stamp do?

I get back to the line. All my White comrades are cleared by now. only a few remain waiting to be served. I do not get the signal of where to stand from the officer directing other people. I’m invisible, and that I know very well. But it does give me time to poser where to go for the service. I hesitate to get back to the half beautiful, half not beautiful woman. Convincing myself that someone else might be kinder But suddenly, our eyes halfway meet. She doesn’t have anybody to serve in her counter. I give in therefore, and say to myself, “why should I be afraid, I got the stamp anyway!”

She scrutinises my papers with care and deep sense of strategising. Then she gives up on me and signals her bosses. Two huge men and and one lady comes to pick me up. I am to ally glad that they don’t utter a word in English. I have my shield with me. So long as I know my documents are clear. They take turns, talking and thinking by themselves. I stand relaxed and ready to do anything they want. And they seem to give up. But not before asking for my paper of invitation. I have all in soft copies. She is too old, one for her to know how to use the soft copy and understand what on earth does the UN mean. For my patience or the state being confused, I was let go.

Taxi. Maybe its me and ladies thing. I hand over the hotel address. And she doesn’t have any idea where the location is. Damn, its not my country! How am I supposed to explain. One guy decides to give it a try. I love the courage. I don’t even ask him what he plans to charge me. I am kind of ready for anything. We take a swift ride to my hotel. The only word spoken to me by my driver, “it will take about forty minutes.”

Taxi 2. After spending the night, I have at least figured out where to secure stable housing. I give them a call and they welcome me in. So o get out and have the hotel guys assist me to get a taxi. They take time checking the address, and this deceives me to belief that they have everything perfected. The taxi guy comes and i board, resumes to my silence mode. We take time going through the streets. One thing worries me, If we are riding this far, its going to take ages for em to get to work every morning. Apparently, my work place was only ten minutes away from my first night hotel, but it was quite pricy so I had to leave. Once we get to some name which sounds like where I wanted, the taxi driver points the place to me and suddenly seems to realise that he made a mistake. How good is it to quickly notice the mess you made yourself! We have to begin another journey to find the right place. I no my head, its the only power I have.

I takes a few more minutes before finding the real place. The receptionists seems aware that they do receive people like me, that gives me confidence. I book in, and grateful to find a new home.

The first day of work begins late in the morning. Still riding taxi. The meter at my destination reads fifty one Bhats. I give sixty and stand in anticipation of change. The old man looks at me rather surprised. I read his facial expression quickly and takes off. The second day isn’t that bad. I can go to work using a fan from my hostels, and I am not alone, we are a group of us from same place working at the same station. My eyes are keen as we drive, perhaps because I want to take a walk by myself, its the most natural thing I do. So I get to see the first hotel I used. The place that I used one hundred and eighty Bahts for taxi was just a walk away from my new hostel!

I wanted to blame taxis, but then I remembered who to blame. Japan. Because you have made me to forget that whatever one can do to survive without hurting someone physically is relatively ok. It not dishonesty, but rather a mean to survive. The only weapon they have to fight for their dear lives.

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