On page 42 of Thailand At Random it says, in glorious black and white, that Thai taxi drivers are not allowed to refuse passengers. They are also forbidden from charging more than what's on the meter, taking unnecessary detours, dropping you in random locations and blaring horrendous Isan noise at you.
These facts may come as a shock to anyone who has ever hailed a taxi in Bangkok. This book may not be of much use in persuading a grouchy cabbie to take you where he doesn't want to go, but it will give you a smug sense of superiority. Knowing you're in the right can make you feel so much better when you're left standing at the side of the road in the pouring rain.
Thailand At Random is a 150-page text which lives up to its title, delivering snippets of information, lists of events, translations of anthems, ephemera and surprises for those who want to flick through and learn something. There are more than 250 entries, and 100-plus illustrations, on topics ranging from politics and prostitution, Buddhism and the bad luck associated with buffaloes, to severed penises and serial killers. It's a lot of fun. (Life staff writer Parisa Pichitmarn was a contributor and she assures us that it's a much livelier book than the Malaysian and Singaporean editions in the series.)
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