In a taxi with no seatbelt speeding for the city. I type a text to my mother saying we’ve arrived and are safely in a cab. Before I even hit send, the cab is stopped on the side of the highway, lights flashing.  I look at the front seat and see the check engine light blinking. As cars rush past the driver opens the hood. He pokes around, makes a phone call. The highway patrol drives up and we think maybe this will be ok. But then he mumbles something about a ticket – us not having the right one – and he cops drive off. The driver gets back in and says we’re going back to the airport.

At this point we’ve heard a thousand stories about Bangkok scams and don’t want to be victim to one so we say we won’t pay unless he takes us back to our hotel. This is short-sighted, as it just makes him drive back to the airport faster. The needle goes to 140km, then 160. We dart in and out of traffic. I realize that when friends who’d visited third world countries told stories of fearing death in cabs, they weren’t exaggerating. We fly back to the airport. We do not pay him. The woman at the taxi stand doesn’t seem to are about our harrowing experience. We get another taxi where our driver makes small talk and tries to teach us how to say “Hello” and “Thank You” in Thai.