Reed in Asia
An accidental change to my routine
When I arrived at the dome the next day, I asked the driver if he could tell Group Captain Chiloey that I would like to see him. The driver's English was limited, but he understood most of what I said, but the one word that he did not understand was the name Chiloey, he kept asking me "Who?" and I kept telling him 'Chiloey', eventually he repeated to me the name Chiloey, but in a rising tone, then he understood and said that he would tell him and drove away. This was my first encounter with 'tones' in the Thai language, to me then, I thought "What was the problem with him? A name is a name, or a word is a word no matter what tone you use!"
I then opened the dome and started the system, ran all of the flight profiles and again made adjustments, I was still trying to find the compromise settings and it was still not quite right for me. A while later the door opened and Chiloey came in and asked me what I wanted to see him about, so I then told him that I needed the first weapon in the dome now, he thought about it for a while and then said to me that today was Friday and it would be a little difficult and also he said that he needed one of his gun operators with me when I set up the gun in the dome, so it would be better if we arranged this for the following Monday. This was fine with me, I could give myself the next two days off (Weekend) and maybe see what Bangkok was really like, instead of just the bar areas at night. So I said that it was fine with me, then I asked him "What weapon do you intend to install first?" and he told me that he had a 'Bofors 4080' lined up first. He then looked at his watch and said to me "Come on , lets go to lunch and have a beer" and he smiled at me, I really liked Chiloey, he was a great character and like a good friend already, even though he was the 'Base Commander' there.
We went to Cafe On and I let Chiloey order for us and when the food came there were lots of dishes on the table and lots of beer too Chiloey even had the same habits as me, he would eat one plate of food, then take a break and have a cigarette and a beer, then start into the food again afterwards. Back at the dome after lunch, I went into the container and got the very heavy, counter-balance weight for a Bofors gun out and moved it into the dome ready for Monday, I also connected one of the 'On target sensors' and 'Hits counters' to the system just to check it out ready for Monday. I ran some flight profiles and manually moved the 'On target sensor' by hand to check that it was picking up the 'Aim-off' encoded light projector and it seemed to be working fine, so everything was ready now. I just relaxed for a while then waiting for the transport back to the hotel and I had already switched everything off and locked the dome door and containers before it arrived, so I quickly jumped in when it did come.
At the hotel, I wrote a quick telex for GQ to give them a progress report for the week and then quickly went up to my room, I had a shower and change of clothes, then I went quickly downstairs and got the hotel minibus to Bangkok. At the Tavvern that night, I sat in my usual seat opposite On and played a few games of darts with Phet, Tony came over and asked how things were going for me and we chatted for a while and had a few beers together, then he went to take care of some other customers and I started talking to On, we talked about many things, her English wasn't perfect, but in normal conversation she was fine. I had the weekend off now, so I didn't have to think about work that evening, I asked On about things to see in Bangkok and she started telling me about many tourist attractions. I had never seen the city in daylight yet, so I was looking forward to this weekend and just going out and around for a couple of days. I was very relaxed that night, nothing really to think about, I was just enjoying myself drinking beer, listening to some music, watching videos and talking to On. I was so relaxed that I forgot to check the time and when I did look at my watch, I had just five minutes to get the minibus back, so I quickly paid my bill in the bar with On and left the bar hurriedly. When I got to the Montien hotel, there was no sign of the minibus, so I asked a security guard there about it and he told me that it had left about two minutes earlier.
I didn't know what to do then, I had only ever come into Bangkok and out again on the Airport hotel minibus, I had never got a taxi there yet and I didn't know Bangkok. I had no work the next day so I thought that it was no big problem really, so I decided to go back to the Tavvern, have a couple more beers and ask Tony about getting a taxi back to the hotel. Back at the Tavvern Tony was surprised to see me, so I told him what had happened, he bought me a beer and then he asked me if I could sleep anywhere, I didn't really understand what he meant until he said to me "You are welcome to sleep here in the bar tonight if you don't mind" I had a quick look around and thought that I could sleep on one of the cubicle seats quite easily, so I said to him "Thanks Tony, that would be great for me" and I relaxed a little, I was right in my judgement, Tony really was a nice guy. So I sat at the opposite end of the bar to where I normally sit and chatted with Tony over the next hour.
Tony had to close the bar at 02:00 and most of the customers had left already, so he locked the door and then he said to me "I have cashed up already, but you can carry on drinking if you want, just keep a record on a piece of paper for me and settle up with me tomorrow" he then went on to say "Oh! On stays here anyway and she will take good care of you", he then said goodbye and left. On then came over from behind the bar, locked the door again, turned most of the lights out, asked me if I wanted another beer and smiled at me.
'Not 'On' my own tonight!'
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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