Mai is used to me calling out “Stop! Stop! Stop!” when we’re out driving and I see something interesting I want to photograph. She actually encourages it! Unfortunately, she’ll have to get used to it. Part of the process of getting a driver’s license as a foreigner in Thailand is to have a medical checkup and obtain a certificate of good health from the doctor. The exam consists of taking your pulse, blood pressure and listening to your heart and lungs. I did fine on all of that, but I now wear braces on my legs to control a condition called foot drop. When the doctor saw the braces she refused to sign the certificate. So, no driver’s license for me. I’ll never be able to drive our shiny new Honda!
Mai negotiated with the doctor, however, and she did agree to sign off so that I could get a motorcycle license since I still have my motorcycle rating on my Ontario driver’s license. The conditions are it has to have an automatic transmission so that I don’t need to use my feet for driving. This is fine with me because I had my eye on a scooter and many of them have automatic transmissions.
When I finally get my license and my helmet arrives from the U.S. (Helmets here are far too small and don’t have to comply with any safety ratings. I might as well wear a lampshade on my head!) then we head to the local Honda shop to buy an all-too-cute Honda Scoopy!
Mai has her own rules on how I will conduct myself:
- Drive within the So Phisai town limits only! No driving on the highways.
- No driving at night.
- No driving during Songkran (Thai New Year celebrations, when alcohol related accidents spike about 400%).
- 60 km/h maximum speed.
- No wheelies or burnouts. 🙂
I’ve spent enough on time on Thai roads to know that these rules will keep me out of trouble. A scooter allows me to regain some of the freedom I’ve lost with the loss of my car drivers license. I can pick up groceries, take Max to and from school, putt around and take pictures and go visit friends. Plus it’s available for Man (Mai’s older son) when he’s home from university.