Because Outpost Magazine have been running their Signs of the Road competition I’ve been digging around in the old photo files on my MacBook. I found some crackers (in the usefully-named ‘Amusing Signage’ folder) and thought I’d share a few of the best with you all. Don’t worry – not all at once!
For today you just have to cope with this classic:
It’s a sign I spotted in a Bangkok underground station, pointing the direction to the end of the blue line. My sister Gill snapped it when she came to Thailand to rescue me… long story.
Earlier that day I’d had an interesting encounter with a hooker, which I’ll have to tell you about now that I’ve mentioned it or you’ll start to think all sorts of dubious thoughts about me.
So there I am, walking down a bustling road in the centre of Bangkok.
I’ve booked quite a posh hotel as I’m here to meet Gill, flying in from London, and you can just do that in Bangkok – book a posh hotel. It cost me about the same as a youth hostel would back in England.
For the night before though, I’d booked a backpacker’s – no point wasting money on the likes of me. So I strolled out of the hostel, down the road and bumped into a hot young Thai woman who invited me into her bar.
I got about ten feet inside when my eyes adjusted an I realized I was staring at a naked woman – no, I was staring at a reflection of a naked woman. There was a giant mirror on the floor and above it, on a ceiling of glass, this chick was gyrating for all she was worth.
Deciding this wasn’t quite my kind of place I beat a hasty retreat – not without the odd backward glance I must admit, but then I’m only human.
But the hooker wasn’t going to let me go as easily as that.
“No, stop!” She called at me. “You can’t go out, you have no shoes!”
I looked down at my bare feet. They were filthy.
Should I explain to her that almost six months ago, having had my shoes stolen for the third time in a week and frustrated with the general crappiness of flip-flops, I’d made a bet with a friend that I could go barefoot for a whole year?
No. She’s never understand.
I just smiled at her and said, “indeed.”
I’d gotten to the end of the road when I head a slap-slap, slap-slap, gaining in speed and volume behind me.
Just when it sounded like I was about to be flattened by an overly enthusiastic sea lion, I turned to spot the hooker wheezing right behind me.
“Take, take!” she panted, and held something out to me.
It was a bright pink pair of flip-flops.
So concerned with the health of my feet was she, she’d run back into her bar, grabbed the first pair of shoes available and chased me all the way down the road with them.
“Um, thanks?” I said as I took the pink plastic shoes. They looked a little on the small side for me.
“No pwobwems!” she replied, grinning, then skipped merrily away up the road, her good deed for the day done. It made me feel a lot better about hookers as people. They weren’t bad people; it was their clientele that should be avoided. Plastic shoes eh? Given her profession I should be grateful she gave me tat instead of tit.
I stood bemused at the cross-roads wondering what to do with the tiny pink pair of flip-flops. I didn’t want to carry them around all day, it would make me look even more like a homeless person. Or possibly a child molester.
The traffic lights changed and people began crossing the road. I made eye contact with a girl coming the other way and stretched out the shoes to her as she passed.
“Want these?” I asked.
“Oh! Ah, okay?”
And she took them.
She gained the other side of the road and turned to stare at me in confusion.
I looked back and caught her eyes.
I waved at her.
She waved back.
“Now shoo!” I said.
Anyway, that’s all the explaining I’m doing today.
If you like the sign, there’ll be more of them – I have a collection after all, each with a fascinating story behind it – and yes, I promise not to tell you all of them.
Really – would I do that to you?