“Where are you from?”
“You go alone?”
“Yes,” I smiled to the songthaew driver.
“How brave!” she nodded, smiled widely, moved gear and drove the songthaew to downtown Chiang Mai. Since arrived at Arcade Bus Terminal an hour before, she was the first person I had conversation with.
That traditional Thai passenger vehicle, songthaew, can accomodate nearly 12 person at the back seat. But I sat at the front, precisely beside the driver.
“It’s uncommon for Thai woman, travel alone like you,” she said quietly.
“Same thought for Indonesian too. Don’t really know why. People say it isn’t safe enough for woman to travel alone. But thank God, I got a lot of help.”
“You know, maybe it’s happy to be like you. Different with other people. Being uncommon with another woman.”
“But you’re uncommon too. Is it common for Thai woman driving a songthaew?”
“No…” she smiled. “Ah! That’s your hotel!”
She pulled the songthaew to the roadside, then moved from her seat to help me brought my backpack to hotel’s front door.
“I’m happy to see woman like you. Hope my daughter will be like you one day… Be careful, girl. God bless you.”
There. She gave me the frendliest smile I’ve ever get in the Land of Smile.