Reed in Asia
Leaving on a jet plane
The next morning when I went to reception on my way to work, they informed me that I had received a telex which they gave to me in a hotel envelope, I was in a hurry, so I just stuck it in my pocket and went out to the waiting RTAF vehicle. At the dome, I turned the systems on, selected a terrain scene and loaded a target film and fitted the appropriate cam to the main console. I then remembered about the telex, so I went outside to read it easier and to have a cigarette at the same time. The telex was obviously from GQ and they had given me the name and address of a bank not far from Don Muang airport and said that I could collect my advanced expences fees from them there and I just had to show my passport to the bank. I had just started running the target film in the dome when the dome door opened and three RTAF personnel came in and they stood near the door watching the target profile and looking around the dome. When the profile had finished, I switched the system off and went to see what they wanted, as I was walking towards them, the tallest one and quite obviously the more senior one of the group approached me with his hand outstretched, so I shook hands with him and he introduced himself as 'Group Captain Chiloey', he then went on to say that RTAF headquarters had designated him as the liaison officer for the dome project.
Group Captain Chiloey spoke excellent English and he came across to me as a very nice person and he was very easy to talk to. After talking for a while about the dome and the weapons to be used in it, he then said to me "As your liaison officer, I think that I should start to liase properly by inviting you to lunch" and he smiled at me, so he obviously had a good sense of humour and I felt comfortable with him. We left the dome in his chauffeured RTAF saloon car and of all places, we went to Cafe On, once inside and the two of us were seated at a table, he asked me what Thai food I liked and I just replied "Anything", when the waitress came to us, the first thing he ordered was a beer and he asked me if I wanted one and of course I said yes, he then asked me if I minded if he smoked and rather than answer him, I just offered him a cigarette from my packet and lit one myself too. When the waitress returned with the beers, Chiloey ordered some food for us, poured my beer for me and his own and then clinked glasses and said 'Cheers'. When the food arrived there were about three different dishes of food placed in the centre of the table along with a large bowl of Tom Yam and a plate of rice each. He had made a very good selection of food it was all wonderful and between us we finished the lot quickly.
After the meal we sat there talking, drinking beer and smoking and then I asked him about the bank that GQ had telexed me about and he said that we would go there straight after lunch. Chiloey was going to take care of the bill in the cafe, but I said that the meal was on GQ and I paid for it. The bank was only about two kilometres away and I soon picked up the money, GQ had sent me £5,000 and in Thai money that was a lot of bank notes, so I stacked them in my briefcase which I had luckily brought along with me and then we returned to the dome. Chiloey asked me if he could watch another target flight profile, this I did, but I explained to him that I had a lot of calibration to do yet and it would not be perfect, he accepted that, watched one profile and then said that he had to go, he went on to tell me that anything I needed or had any problems with, to notify him as soon as possible and he would take care of it for me, then we shook hands and he left. I started my calibration work then and with that system it takes a lot of calibration and fine tuning, because it was operated by cables, springs, spring tensioners and had many mechanical adjustments, you had to be the engineering equivalent of a piano tuner to get it to operate perfectly. I was still working away at this in the late afternoon when Dumrong arrived at the dome, he had a quick look around and asked me if I could run it for him, so I ran a quick target profile for him and he seemed quite interested in it. I then had to shut down because it was time for my RTAF vehicle to arrive, I got in the vehicle and Dumrong said that he would see me back at the hotel and drove away in his car.
At the hotel I went straight to the lounge and evryone was there, Dennis, Adrian, Eddie and Dumrong and we all sat there drinking and talking for a long time. Dennis then asked a favour of me, in the Airport hotel they had a very high class, very expensive restaurant in there and Dennis asked me if they could have their last meal in there this evening. The reason that he was asking me was because my company expences could take care of this because I was allowed to entertain customers and they weren't, so they had never eaten in this restaurant. I agreed to this quickly, it was not a problem for me, GQ should treat them after their three months work there and I could write it off on my expences as entertaining RTAF personnel (the customer). We had a wonderful meal that evening, lobster thermadore, roast duck, and quite a few bottles of wine and I just signed for it on my hotel room. When we eventually left the restaurant, the other guys had to go and get their bags because it was time to go to the airport, I went upstairs to my room and dropped off my briefcase, with the excitement and the drink that evening I had almost forgotten that I was carrying £5,000 worth of Thai currency around with me. Back downstairs, the guys were being loaded into the hotel minibus and they asked me to get in, I declined and said that I would see them at departures in the airport, the tables had turned! I walked across the overpass to the airport terminal with Dumrong and we waited for the others near the check-in desk.
After check-in we still had an hour and a half before the flight departure, so we all went to the business class lounge. GQ was very good that way, every one of their personnel flew business class anywhere. We carried on our private party in the business lounge with free drinks and snacks until the departure monitor indicated last call for their aircraft, then we all shook hands and they left for the gate. Dumrong and I walked back to the hotel and at the hotel, Dumrong went to his car and said that he would see me at the dome the next day. I did my usual, I had a beer nightcap in the hotel disco and then went to bed relatively early for me, about 01:00.
'On my own now'
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
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