Normally when you're on the brink of death, your life supposedly flashes before your eyes in an instant. When you're riding on the back of a tuk-tuk in Bangkok in the heat of rush hour, this instant stretches out to about fifteen minutes, or twelve minutes if you don't count the commercial breaks.
Because it was impossible to catch a cab in Chinatown, we voluntarily piled four of us into the back of a tiny three-wheeled vehicle that was being driven by a man who'd lost his desire to live and wanted to take some tourists with him.
More than once he kept using the opposite side of the road as a passing lane. At one point the bastard turned onto another street by driving between two cars that were coming right at us. I was too stunned to even piss my pants. If one of the cars didn't swerve out of the way, I'd be typing this entry by holding a pencil in my mouth.
Finally saw a couple of cockfights over at Chatuchak. In dark wooden stalls located next to - of all places - an office for The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (it was closed). There, surrounded by a small ring made out of cardboard, chickens tried to kill each other. They had nails duct-taped to their heels, which they'd use in a move where one cock would grip the other cock's face with his beak and then viciously kick him with both feet. For both fights, we got there mid-combat, so both roosters were already soaked with blood that was flowing from open wounds mainly around the head, chest and back.
After a few minutes, I realized that I didn't have the stomach to see the fights to the end and went back to shopping at Chatuchak, where a man offered to sell me a monkey. It must be illegal to sell primates - even in Thailand - because he looked both ways before offering to show me his monkey. He whispered to me to follow him to the back. He crouched down, opened a drawer, and pulled out a fist-sized sack that was tied with a knot. As he held up the sack to my face, it began to move. That asshole kept the monkey in a sack?
He carefully untied the knot, and out came the monkey's face, blinking sleepily under the harsh flourescent lights. It wasn't even a real monkey. I believe it was a lemur, but I'm no monkey connisseur - so don't hold me to that.
He offered it to me for about 4,000 baht or a little over 90 bucks; but I felt compelled to snatch it from him and set the lemur free. Lord knows where, some place located at a safe distance from cockfights, tuk-tuks, and souvenier shops. Instead I told him I wasn't interested and walked away. And the guy tied up the sack and put the little animal back in the drawer like a gimp.