Reed in Asia
Ajahn Reed gets mobile
The next morning as I was leaving the hotel, the girl at reception called me over and handed me a telex, I read the telex in the vehicle on the way to the dome and GQ had agreed with my request for use of a hire car, this was very good news for me. At the dome that day, the RTAF operators were already running the system when I got there and they were making adjustments to the mirrors, they looked up as I walked in and they all gave a 'wai' and said in unison "Sawasdee Ajahn", I actually understood this now, so I just replied "Sawasdee" and then went to see what they were doing. Watching the profiles fly by, I could see that they were adjusting it in quite nicely, so 'hands on' experience was starting to work and I was feeling quite pleased with them. I thought then that we should try and make a little more progress now, so I needed to see Chiloey again to organise things. I asked the student operators if they could arrange for Group Captain Chiloey to come and see me and again I had problems getting them to understand who I was talking about, I kept saying the name 'Chiloey' but they didn't understand, so in frustration, I spread my fingers widely and put them on my shoulder trying to indicate 'high rank' and continued saying 'Chiloey', one of them then seemed to understand and he repeated to me 'Chiloey' in a rising tone and I nodded to him. They then told me that he was not on the base and in limited English said something about a 'helicopter' and 'Laos', I tried to ask them when he would be back and they said that probably the following week he would be back there.
Dumrong turned up at the dome just before lunch and asked me to go with him, I asked him to explain to the students that I wouldn't be there that afternoon and just continue with the calibration and that I would see them again on Monday morning. Dumrong then explained all of this in Thai and they seemed okay with everything, I could leave them alone in the dome quite confidently now. I left with Dumrong in his car and we headed towards Bangkok, but a few kilometres down the road (Viphavadee), we turned left and I lost track of where we were going until he parked outside his office on Ramkhamhaeng road. He pointed out his office to me, but then he asked me to follow him and he led me to a restaurant not too far away. Inside the restaurant I recognised Banyat sitting in there with a couple of other people and we joined them at the table. After we sat down I was introduced to an older guy named 'Surin' and a young girl named 'Ploy' who were sitting there and I was informed that they were staff at Annex Motors too.
We had a good lunch together and Banyat just signed the bill, apparently they had an arrangement at this restaurant with the company. We then went to the office and I was looking around, they had a small swimming pool near the entrance, which I thought was strange, but Dumrong explained that one of the products that they sold there was swimming pool liners and that this was for display. I was then led to an outside annex to the building and it was furnished as a meeting room with a large table and chairs in the centre and padded bench seating around the walls. The walls were all glass above one metre, it had air-conditioning and it was very pleasant in there in the afternoon sun. I was given a glass of fresh lemon juice with ice and told that I could smoke in there if I wanted to. I was left alone in there for a few minutes and then the door opened and in walked Dumrong and Banyat, followed by another very well dressed person, Banyat then introducrd me to 'Mr. Phnom Devahastin' the owner of Annex Motors, we shook hands and then all sat down around the table. Phnom then started asking questions about progress with the dome, which I answered quite easily, then he asked me about my technical background, working experience and education, I found this a little strange, because I was employed by the company that pays his company to represent our interests in Thailand, so why did he need to know this? I answered all of his questions anyway, but I still found this line of questioning quite strange and basically irrelevant to our business working relationship.
After the initial meeting in the annex, everyone went into the main building and up one flight of stairs to the offices, Dumrong led the way for me and he led me to a spare desk in the office, he then offered me a tea or a coffee to which I said "tea please", I like coffee but I am allergic to it now and I dont have a choice anymore . Dumrong brought me a tea and then sat down with me and we just started chatting generally about our work and our lives, my opinion of Dumrong had changed 180 degrees and I quite liked him as a person now. I spent the rest of the afternoon just sitting around drinking tea and chatting with the people in the office, Dumrong offered to take me to the Airport hotel, but I told him that I was going into Bangkok that evening and I would be fine here. When the office closed Dumrong asked me to go with him to a nearby cafe/restaurant for a drink, this sounded good, but I was thinking about On and where she was now. As we left the building, I saw On waiting outside the gates and I had to make a quick decision then, do I introduce her to Dumrong? As we exited the gate, I indicated to On to follow us and we went into the restaurant about 70 metres away, On followed us in there and when we had a table, On came over and I introduced her to Dumrong, he said hello to her in Thai, smiled at me and then ordered beer for us. When the beer arrived, it was brought by a very big guy for a Thai, he also had a small beard which was also unusual for a Thai, he smiled and chatted with Dumrong and Dumrong introduced us, the big guy's name was Krau and he was the owner of the restaurant, he smiled at me and shook my hand and I instantly liked this guy. He then asked Dumrong in Thai if we wanted any food, Dumrong spoke to On in Thai and they agreed on some food for all of us and Krau went off to make it for us.
The food was very good in there and the place was now packed, they even had to put tables and chairs in the street to cope with all of the customers that arrived and having tasted the food now, I could understand why it was so popular, it was the best food that I had tasted since I had been in Thailand. I asked On then what time the car hire company closed, because my plan was to get a car that evening if I could, she said that they closed at about 8:30 pm, so we had time to go there. After the meal and a beer, I told Dumrong that we had to leave and he said that he would see me at the dome on Monday. As we walked out of the restaurant, Krau was busy cooking there, because the kitchen was an open one at the front of the restaurant, I then paid one of the staff for the meal and beers, I thanked Krau for the meal and complimented him on it, he just smiled, waved his cooking utensils at me and then carried on cooking. We then got a taxi on Ramkhamhaeng road and went to Klong Toey.
At the car rent office, I enquired about a car and they had one available, I told them that I would probably have it for a long time and this was fine with them, they just wanted a copy of my passport, my driving licence and gave me a form to fill in with my Thai address on it, they took the deposit off me and then gave me the keys for a Mitsubishi Champ and showed me where it was parked. On and I got in the car, I adjusted the seats and mirrors for me and we drove away. I asked On to direct me to Patpong and we arrived on Patpong II road about fifteen minutes later, I remembered seeing the car park there near the supermarket so I drove the car in there and parked on an upper level. Walking back down to the road again, I was surprised to see that there was a bar in the car park on the first level, the bar's name was 'The Bobby's Arms' and I made a mental note to check it out sometime. We then walked to the Tavvern, which wasn't very far and Tony seemed pleased to see us. On didn't have to work now, but I had to pay the bar for the privilege and On still got her wages. On chatted with all of her friends there and I chatted with Tony, played darts with Phet and watched a video. Sitting together in a cubicle later, I asked On where would be a good place to drive to the next day, I said that I would like to see some of Thailand now I had the car, she said that she had a good place for me to see and that we could drive to Kanchanaburi the next day. We left the Tavvern when it closed that night and it was very easy for me just going to the carpark picking up the car and then driving back to the hotel. I already knew the way to go, because I had been watching when I went in the minibus before and it took us just 20 minutes to drive back to the hotel.
The disco was still open when we arrived at the hotel, so we went in there for a dance and a last beer for me and we even saw it close down that night. No work for me the next day and the whole weekend for me to look forward to, with transport of my own now .
'And so it goes On!'
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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