Before you could say feckless farang, a tuktuk appeared out of nowhere and we were being sped on our way to the temple in question. We had no sooner rounded the corner of the Palace when I saw that the gates to a second official entrance to the Palace were open. Whoa, I said to the tuktuk driver, let us out HERE. This fell on deaf ears, though I spoke clearly, politely, and firmly, in Thai. The driver was by now on his cellphone in loud negotiations with his keeper. Let us off, I insisted. No, he replied, one ear still glued to the cellphone, I take you to Government Showroom, very good shop, very cheap Thai souvenirs, gemstones. Better than Wat.
Fully aware of the fact that we were, literally, being taken for a ride, we kept insisting on being let off the tuktuk, and the more we insisted the more enraged the evil jockey became, commandeering his three-wheeler at an increasingly reckless pace. Careening into a large roundabout on only two of those wheels without so much as a sideways glance, we came within an inch of our lives of being broadsided by an SUV. Only after that did he screech to a stop and pour us out of his vehicle, a jellied mess, dumped unceremoniously on the sidewalk. And what nerve: furious that we refused to pay he let out a toxic and imaginative stream of Thai curses!
So what would have happened had he had his way with us and taken us to the Government Showroom?