Reed in Asia
Bangkok - My first night out on the town
We all met for breakfast the following morning in the dining room and it was only when the others started talking about what they were going to do that night that I realised that it was Saturday. I had lost track of what day it was with going to Pattaya and back again that week, Adrian then asked me if I wanted to go into Bangkok with them that night, because they would be leaving soon and I wouldn't have a chance to be shown around again. I thought about it for a little while and then I agreed, I was going to be in Thailand for a long time, so I thought that I had better start to get to know my way around. When the landrover dropped us off at the dome, they asked the driver to come to pick us up one hour earlier that day, so that everyone could get ready before the hotel transport left for the Montien.
At the dome, I transferred all of the electronic equipment from the container into the dome itself that morning, some of the equipment like the main control console and projection display unit were quite heavy and delicate and had to be moved very carefully. When all of the equipment was in the dome, I had to align the control console and projection display unit exactly in the dome centre, which was already marked on the base, because this also had to be used for the accurate positioning of the dome panels when under construction. The unit then had to be aligned in the fore and aft axis and the centre of the main mirror had to be set to a specific height above the dome base which had to be adjusted by rotation of the unit's floor locking rods. Once the height of the mirror was set, then a clinometer had to be used to accurately level the whole unit, again by adjustment of the individual floor locking rods. By the time that I had aligned and levelled the unit it was already lunchtime, so we all went to the Cafe On for lunch again. At lunch that day, Dennis told me that they would be finished with the screen surface that day, so effectively their job was finished and he would be arranging for their flight back to UK as soon as possible. He then went on to tell me about the transport arrangements with the RTAF, because I would have to take care of everything myself from that day onwards. Back at the dome after lunch, I now had the main console / projection unit physically lined up with the dome, that was the easy part! Now I had to connect it up to the MDU, apply power and do the full calibration of the unit, not so easy!
So that you can follow what I had to do next, I have to give you a brief overview of the operation of this unit. One end of the unit, the one that had to be lined up with the base centre, comprised of a five foot tall column which housed two mirrors, the mirrors could be moved and rotated around their axes, and this was controlled by wire cables and springs. The wire cables were moved by cam followers that rested on large cams that were driven by an electric motor in the unit, specific cams that could be fitted were related to specific aircraft flight profiles, which were in turn, related to aircraft films which were loaded onto a film projector at the opposite end of the unit and the film projector had to be accurately aligned with the exact centre of the main mirror that it projected onto. The main mirror in turn, reflected the flight images onto the dome screen surface and simulated an aircraft attack sequence for anti-aircraft defence training in the dome.
I initially set the wire tensions and the 'at rest' mirror alignment, then I fitted a cam set to the unit and started the cam motor to check that the mirrors moved freely and were being rotated by the cam followers smoothly. Next I had to fit the film projector to the unit and align it onto the centre of the main mirror using a calibration lens and initially no film, just the projection lamp. When I was satisfied with that, I then had to fit and align a smaller encoded light projector to the unit, this was for the 'aim off' position and 'on target' detection for use with the anti-aircraft weapons to be used in the dome. This projector had to be aligned with the second smaller mirror on the unit which was also positioned by a cam. Each cam set consisted of two cams permanently fitted together and calibrated at GQ for specific flight profiles. I had just finished the alignment of the light projector, when Dennis said to me that they had completed the screen surface and that I had better get ready to leave because the RTAF vehicle was due to pick us up in five minutes time. Looking at my watch, I could see that he was right, I had completely lost track of time working on the equipment, so I quickly switched everything off, removed the cam set from the unit and put it back in it's protective case and I was locking the dome door just as the RTAF vehicle arrived.
At the hotel, we went for our usual beers in the lounge, we still had one hour and fifteen minutes before the hotel minibus to Bangkok left, Adrian kept trying to tell me about all of the great go-go bars in Patpong and the girls in them, I pretended to be interested, but really I just wanted to go and look around and then go to the quiet bar that they had told me about before. At 18:00 we boarded the minibus and left for Bangkok, there was still a little daylight left so I was looking around on the way there. Eventually we pulled into the Montien hotel carpark and everyone got out, the other three guys led the way and they left the carpark by a different exit to the one that the minibus had gone in. We then came to a main road and being a little dark now, across the road I could see a lot of neon signs and hundreds of people on the small streets leading off there. We crossed the road and entered one of these streets and we were immediately being pestered by scantily clad young girls, just like Pattaya, we then entered a doorway on the right, went up some stairs and then through another doorway into a large very dark room with a bar on the right, some tables and chairs around and a stage opposite the door. We all sat at the bar and we were immediately surrounded by girls in Bikini outfits, one of these girls started rubbing herself against me and groping me between the legs, so I just pushed her hand away and turned away from her towards the other guys, they had girls all over them and they seemed to be enjoying it, so I just got my beer and started drinking. More girls kept trying to push themselves on me, but I just pushed them away again and tried to ignore them, this kind of scene I really disliked, if I was looking for a girl this would be the last kind of place that I would go looking for one, I quickly finished my beer and paid for it and said to the others that I had had enough in there, then I headed for the door.
Back down on the street, I didn't know where to go or what to do, some girls started pestering me there again so I just started walking trying to find this quiet bar that they had told me about, but there just seemed to be one go-go bar after another that went on and on. I carried on walking a little and then I saw through a window, a bar with people just sitting around drinking and some people eating meals, so I went straight in there. I got to the bar without anyone pestering me and the person behind the bar just asked me what I wanted and served me normally, this seemed like an oasis to me after what I had just seen and been through. I was just sitting at the bar drinking beer and relaxing a little, when the other three guys came in, they said that they had seen me through the window and they all sat at a table and ordered beers, so I joined them there. I then asked them if this was the quiet bar that they had told me about and they said no, this bar was on a street called Patpong 1 and the bar that they told me about before was on the next street along on Patpong 2. The three guys started talking together quietly and occasionally looking at me, shaking their heads and talking some more, then one of them said, "We will take you to 'the Tavvern' later, but just come and have a look at one more bar with us first". I reluctantly agreed and we left the bar and started walking down Patpong 1 again, almost to the end of the street they turned left and went down a small alleyway, I just followed them and at the other end of the alleyway was a street just like Patpong 1 full of girls and go-go bars, this was Patpong 2.
We went across the street there and into a bar not far away, this was a very narrow bar with tables and seating raised up on a couple of steps to the right and the whole of the left hand side was a bar with a raised lit up stage behind with shining poles from ceiling to stage. There was loud music playing and each of these poles had a bargirl in a bikini clinging to it, gyrating to the music and making other sexually suggestive movements with their bodies, we sat at one of the raised tables and we were served by a bargirl wearing a bikini, all of the bargirls had a number on their bikini tops and the one that served us was No. 13, was that an omen? It was better than the first bar that we went in though, the girls in this bar did try to mess about with you a little, but if you declined, they would leave you alone. After one beer in this bar, the guys said to me "Okay we will take you to the Tavvern now", so we paid up and left the bar. We started walking along Patpong 2 and I could see that this was quite a bit different from Patpong 1, we passed a carpark and then a supermarket, a few outside bars, restaurants and only a few go-go bars until we were almost at the end of the street and then they went down one step and opened the door to the Tavvern for me. Once inside they introduced me to Tony the owner, a guy from the midlands in UK, I can usually judge people at first meeting quite well and Tony came across as a very friendly, amiable and nice character. This bar was very quiet, there were very few people in there, they had a juke box and it was playing, but at a reasonable listening level, the bar was along one side and there were cubicle seating and tables along the other side and they had a dartboard at the end, there were a couple of girls serving tables in there and two behind the bar, but they wore normal clothes, jeans, T-shirts, etc. I liked this bar very much.
After one beer in the Tavvern, the other guys got a little bored and said that they were going to go around some of the other bars in Patpong, I said that I was fine there and that I would just stay in the Tavvern, so they agreed to meet me there just before the minibus left at 01:00. I sat at the far end of the bar near the cashier and Tony came to sit with me and we chatted to each other about our lives, Thailand and other general conversation, just getting to know each other really. Tony put a video on the TV in the bar and we sat chatting more, drinking beer and watching the film on TV. Later I played a couple of games of darts with one of the girls, I enjoy playing darts and I used to play for a team in UK . Then later, after sitting at the bar and drinking for a long while, I came to the conclusion that I had found my new 'local'. Ever since I was a teenager, I had always gone to the pub, 'my local', every evening, it had just become a routine / habit with me over the years and now I felt that I had found 'my local' in Thailand, it was a bit far from the hotel, but with the free transport every evening, that was not a problem. Watching other customers in the Tavvern that night, everyone seemed to use the Tavvern as a place to break and relax before going on to the next venue and it was mainly 'passing traffic' that Tony catered to. After a while I started getting a little hungry, so I asked Tony if there were any good restaurants nearby and he just gave me a menu from behind the bar and said "this is a good restaurant, just two doors down from us and they will deliver your order to eat in here if you want to", So I looked at the menu and ordered some beef tacos one of my favourite foods and one of the girls in the bar went to the restaurant and relayed my order, my beef tacos turned up at the bar fifteen minutes later and they were delicious. Whenever I needed a beer, 'On', the bartender / cashier would get me one before I even asked, so this was a great venue for me, beer, food, darts, quiet music, videos, friendly staff and more importantly for me here, no bargirls!! ??
A while later the other guys came back to the bar and they just had time for one quick beer in there before we all had to go and get the transport back to the hotel, I finished my beer, paid the bill with the cashier and gave her a small tip, said thanks and goodbye to Tony and then we left for the Montien hotel. The Montien was really not far from the Tavvern, only about 150 metres, so it was easy, we got on the minibus went back to the Airport hotel, had our usual nightcap in the disco and then went to bed, no work tomorrow!
'I have found my new local'
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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