Reed in Asia
A new lifestyle for me - Siamease
Everyone started to leave the aircraft as soon as the door was opened, I just took my time, still staring out of the window at the airfield and sipping the last of my lemon tea, eventually the aircrew started to leave, so I then started to leave with them, I could feel the heat a little as I left the aircraft and walked along the ramp to the terminal building itself. Once inside the terminal, I just followed everyone else and looking around at the design and decor, it looked very pleasant and quite obviously Thai. I then joined the queue at immigration and just waited my turn, at the counter they checked my passport and visa and gave me a three month 'B' class non-immigrant visa. I then went to the luggage carousel, picked up my suitcase, put it on a trolley and went through customs, I handed them my declaration slip and they waved me through. Out on the main airport arrivals concourse, I turned left, because that is what I had been told to do back at GQ and after walking about 100 metres, I spotted the guys waiting for me by the exit.
The three guys waiting for me, Dennis, Adrian and Eddie, all worked for GQ too, they had been doing the physical construction of the dome base and building and I knew them by sight from GQ. After their initial welcome, they then led me through an exit door to a mini-bus waiting outside, the mini-bus belonged to the Airport hotel were I would be staying, the driver loaded my bag and then opened the door for me, I got in and was waiting for the others to join me, but they just stood there and started to close the door, so I asked them why they weren't coming with me and they just said that they would see me in the hotel lounge, closed the door and then the mini-bus pulled away. I was pleased to see that the Thais drove on the same side of the road as we did and I was interested in just looking around, we left the airport area and then joined a dual carriageway, which had a lot of traffic on it, we drove down this road for about one and a half kilometres and then the driver kept to the right hand side and did a U-turn at the next junction. We drove on the opposite side of the dual carriageway for about the same distance as before and then he turned into the Airport hotel. The driver took my suitcase into reception whilst I was just looking around outside, directly across the road from the hotel was the terminal that I had just arrived at, so then I knew why the other guys didn't want to get in the mini-bus with me. I went into the hotel and checked in at reception, they were expecting me and had a room ready for me, so they just asked me for my passport, gave me a residents book to sign and then they gave me the key to the room, I asked them if they had someone who could take my bag to the room and they agreed, so I just started walking around the hotel and checking things out.
It was quite a large hotel and it was decorated in Thai style with Thai arts and crafts everywhere, there was a Thai girl in a traditional Thai costume playing on a Thai style wooden Xylophone and it was very pleasant and added to the ambience there very well, I really liked the look of this hotel, all of the female staff wore traditional Thai silk costumes and everyone was very polite to me, so my initial impressions of Thailand were very good indeed. I asked at the reception counter if there was somewhere that I could get a beer and she just indicated to the left hand side of the reception and there was a very big lounge area there with lots of tables and there was even a stage in there. I then spotted the other guys sitting at a table in there so I joined them, they already had beers, so I called a waitress over and ordered a beer for myself. When the beer arrived I took a good look at the bottle and tasted it, the name of the beer was Singha, it tasted okay and I judged that it was a medium to strong beer. We all started chatting at once then, although I had seen these guys around at GQ before, we had never actually spoken to each other before, so we had a lot to talk about. Dennis was the guy in charge of this group, he was in his mid-fifties, whereas Adrian and Eddie were both about my age. They were all carpenters by trade, because the dome building was made out of specially treated pinewood and it was manufactured in sections that had to be fitted together from the base ring upwards row by row, on completion, the dome looked like one half of a very large golf ball with a large access door for anti-aircraft artillery equipment.
The dome was ten metres high and twenty metres across the base and was set on and attached to a reinforced concrete base, so these construction people had to take care of the concrete base too. They had just completed the dome construction and were now just about to start on the internal screen surface, the inside of the dome is like a 360 degree cinema screen for the projection of terrain and simulated target aircraft, to achieve this the internal surface is covered with expanded polystyrene sheeting and the gaps between the sheets are covered with white material based tape, when this has been completed then the whole inner surface has to be painted to achieve the required matt white finish ready for projection. This was the point that they were up to now, just ready to start work on the internal surface, that was why I was sent at that time, all of the electrical and electronic equipment could now start to be installed too. It was a Friday when I arrived in Thailand and the construction crew were looking forward to the weekend off, but I had to go and do an inventory check of all of the internal electronic systems the next day, so I asked them if they would go with me to show me the base and location of the dome. They then handed me a set of keys for the dome and the containers holding the equipment and said that the local Thai agent would be coming to the hotel later and he would take me to the RTAF base the next day.
It was early evening then and we just carried on chatting about the dome, Thailand, the local agents and many other things whilst we were just sitting there all drinking Singha beer. A while later the Thai agent arrived, his Thai name was Dumrong, but he introduced himself as Danny, he was relatively young, he was only in his mid-twenties, his English was quite good and we soon started chatting. I sorted out with him about going to the dome the next morning and he said that he would pick me up at 08:00 the next day. We then started talking about the problem with the indoor firing range at the Naval base and he told me that he had arranged for me to go to the base on the Monday morning and that we should go together to stay in a place called Pattaya nearby on Sunday afternoon. I then left the others for a while to go and check my room, I had been in the hotel for almost two hours then and I had not been to the room yet. My room was on the third floor and facing the airport, it was a very nice room, a big double bed, TV, a kettle and tea set, a fridge full of beer, some spirits and soft drinks and the overall decor was just like the hotel reception downstairs very Thai, very pleasant and very up-market. All of the lights and electrical controls were on the unit next to my bed, very convenient, so I came to the conclusion that the whole hotel had been very well designed. I then unpacked my suitcase, had a quick shower and went back downstairs to the others again.
When I got back down to the lounge a Philippine band was now playing music and singing on the stage in there and they sounded very good, things were looking better by the minute now. The construction crew had been in Thailand for two months already and knew Bangkok quite well now, they kept saying to me that I should go into Bangkok city soon because they had some good bars and nightlife there in an area called Patpong. They started telling me about gogo bars and the girls all scantily dressed and some even stripped, but I was not really interested then, that was not really my scene, I much preferred just to go out to a quiet pub, where I could talk to people, drink beer and maybe have a game of darts if possible. So then they told me that one of the bars in the area that they were talking about was just like the kind of bar that I was telling them that I liked and they said that it even had a darts board and was run by an English guy from the Midlands in UK. That caught my interest a little and I said that maybe much later when I had gotten things organised at the dome, I may go with them and take a look at this place. That evening we sat in the lounge most of the night, we went for a meal in the restaurant and then at about midnight Adrian and Eddie led me to a place at the back of the hotel where there was a discotheque and we spent a couple of hours in there drinking beer and watching people dance, we couldn't talk in there because it was too noisy, but it was quite good for a change. I started getting a little tired after a while, so I excused myself and went up to my room. I lay on my bed with a beer, just thinking about the trip to Thailand, the hotel and the Thai people that I had met so far. All of that day I had not spent any money at all, everything was just charged to my room and it was all taken care of by GQ in the UK via American Express travel in Surrey. Just before I slept, I remember thinking to myself "I could get used to this kind of lifestyle very easily" and then I drifted off to sleep.
I shall be adding to this site over time, so if anyone is interested then please have a little patience and call back here from time to time. One of my very few pleasures in life these days is beer so I shall be occasionally referring to beer, I just wish that beer was the only reason that I am legless all the time
Thanks for viewing my site, cheers for now, Legless
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