I got off the bus in Bangkok and hailed a cab. I handed the driver the Thai instructions I had to the hotel. He scowled at the paper, asked me something I couldn't understand, then refused the fare and drove away.
I hailed a second cab. This time I figured out that my current driver and the previous one asked how much I wanted to pay for the drive. I asked for the meter, and the fellow agreed.
We headed off and almost immediately got stuck in traffic. It was, after all, 4:30 on Friday afternoon.
As we sat on the toll road at a standstill, the driver flipped through his music. He finally landed on one and he looked up to see if I approved. I started bobbing my head to the music and the driver grinned and started singing along. Soon, we were both singing about mud and disgrace as we crawled across the bridge.
As we pulled into the area around the airport, the driver started repeatedly looking at the paper I had given him with the address for the hotel. Thus began a search for one street that took one hour, 6 U-turns, and 7 stops for directions.
Finally, after 2.5 hours in the cab, the driver pulled up a back alley and gleefully announced, "Queen Garden Hotel"!
The entire ride cost me $15.