The bike saga continued into the new year. Everything shut down for days on either side of the holiday. In Thailand, people head back to their home villages for the holiday and it is anyone's guess when they decide to return. The guy who sold me the bike was really no help. He offered to come pick it up for a fix in a week, but I could not stomach that. I was bouncing off the walls already as I felt I was stuck on an island and did not want to suffer through the subways or taxis any longer. Once you have the freedom of a scooter, you cant go back.
I found a Yamaha dealership 2 km from house and was willing to give that a try, if I could get the bike there. They could not look at it until the 4th. On the 3rd, they opened and we decided to give it a go. I just needed someone to ride their scooter next to mine to push it to the shop. The other option was to put it in the back of a van/truck, but I wasn’t sure how we would locate that. We were walking up to main road to see if I could recruit the DoorDash bike delivery guy to freelance on a humanitarian aid mission. We passed back the guard shack for our subdivision and I asked Amy to see if they had any ideas.
One of the guards called an off-duty guard and he said he would come help. He showed up with a pickup. I looked in bed of truck and saw no ramp. I was not understanding how this would work. I mean this bike has to weigh about 250lbs. I told him I have a bad back and was not going to do it. So, like a scene straight out of PTAA, he called his wife over from the restaurant to help him lift it
I was like, “no no no” I will do it. We lifted the front wheel up to bed and then the back wheel. It really was not that hard. My neanderthal brain for some reason felt we were going to have to lift it like the Ark of the Covenant and just walk it in
He started fumbling with ropes and I just said, Why don’t I just ride in back? (When in Rome). He agreed to that option much too quickly.
We were off. Immediately, we went the wrong way on the main road. I thought, great, I got Amy, the person who cant find her way out a paper bag directing this operation. After going on the freeway 2x, we found our way there. Multiple times the bike almost toppled over on me as we bounced on these special Thailand roads.
The guy at the shop thought a rat must have chewed through some wires. Here we go again! I told him that that is what the last guy said, and he replaced the wires. I mean, I think “Rat ate it” is like Thailands version of “Dog ate my homework” type response.
Anyway, surprisingly he fixed it in 4 hours and we went back and got it and rode it home. It turned out to be some part, that I did not understand as I tried to decipher through the game of Telephone that is receiving translations through Amy.
Now, in the US, you rarely take a car to the dealership to get fixed because they will charge you a great deal for parts and labor. I prepared for the worst when he gave us the bill. It ended up being $20. Finally, a beneficial reason to be in Thailand for this whole debacle. After that I let him keep it for another week and had the fluids, wheels, brakes and sparkplug replaced for $100
I drove by a Thai drivers training car. That must be the easiest job in the world. "Should I use my tun signal?", ….dont bather. "Should I look both ways before turning out into traffic?"…just go!
The majority of this month was spent on a Bike trip in Vietnam. You can read that set of entries here.
Otherwise, the month was spent decorating the house. I bought a bedside table, and was amused by the way it was shipped with the legs sticking out of the box. Typical Thai solution to a problem. How do we make things work by modifying what we have on hand and there is only 30 seconds to do it!
Some artistic photos I took inside the house to take away from the fact we had an enormous space with very little actual furniture.
We were updating the house to make it more appealing for people to want to stay here as part of a Home Exchange website. The goal was to acquire points by hosting people in our houses, and then use those points on places we would like to visit.
It was important that I was as upfront as possible with people on our place in Bangkok. We lived in a traditional Thai neighborhood with very little, if any, Westerners around. That meant no one spoke English. If you wanted to stay here you had to embrace that aspect of the adventure. It probably was not ideal for a family of 4 who had never been outside of their home country. Just by speaking with someone in the initial emails I could tell if it would work or not. If they asked about Starbucks or other Western luxuries I knew they would be disappointed, and that wasn't going to benefit either of us. With that in mind I walked around the neighborhood taking pictures of some of our favorite stalls to upload to our Home Exchange profile.
Now that I had the scooter back, I was excited to take field trips to restaurants and museums without dealing with taxis and subways. One of our first trips was to take the scooter about 45 south to the “Ancient City” or Mueang Boran. It was kinda like an EPCOT Center for Thailand. It covered a large area of land and had cultural representations from all areas of Thailand. I wanted to go when it wasn’t unbearably hot, but we somehow ended up there at 2pm on a sunny day with temperatures in the mid-90s. It was oppressive. Thankfully, we got a free shuttle around the park that made only few stops to stretch your legs. Most other people rented golf carts. What could go wrong giving people the keys to their own golf carts and turning them loose in an urban enviroment?
They actually did quite a good job of constructing the park and it was unfortunate that the place was empty and had some disrepair but I could attribute that to COVID as it seems to have thrown all projects back a bit. It was also strange that the workers lived on site. The guy driving our trolley car lived in a very “rustic” house with some chickens in the middle of the "Northeastern Thailand" section of the park. It felt like some 19th century Kentucky coal mining town where the families lived in “corporate” housing and bought groceries at the company grocery store. A shot of the trolley “steering wheel”. That would get annoying fast if I had to use it.
Here is a shot of me using the headphones and 1980s Sony Walkman they gave me for English listening stations along the route. It barely worked and weighed 5 pounds. I wanted to chuck it over a fence, but Amy relinquished her ID card to obtain it.
Notice the sign on the bottom right of the next picture
Some tourists were dragged around by elephants. I was able to convince Amy not to yell at them for animal abuse.
You know you made it as a god not only when you get your own statue, but you have characters from The Planet of the Apes worshipping you.
Until Next Month