Reed in Asia - Asian Diaries
Ajahn Reed has a big problem
I woke up early the following morning and the problem with the gun at the dome was still on my mind, I had to figure out a way to solve this problem, the company had put the onus completely on me now and we only had about six weeks to go to the proposed contract completion date. After the proposed RTAF acceptance date of 6 January, 1985, for every day after that date that was delayed by the company (GQ), we would be penalised £1,500 per day as per the signed contract. The only idea that I could come up with was to try and find an unserviceable Bofors 4070 gun barrel, remove the breech fitting and part of the barrel then fit the weight from the mistakenly manufactured 4080 counterweight to it. For this I needed two things, firstly, I had to find an unused 4070 gun barrel in Thailand and purchase it, then I would have to find an engineering workshop that could carry out the required modifications and for both of these things I needed the assistance of Group Captain Chiloey, my RTAF liaison officer, so that was the task for today, find Chiloey and try and get this sorted out quickly if possible. I was thinking about all of this and drinking tea at the coffee table in the room, when On woke up and came to sit with me, she could see that I was deep in thought, so she made herself a coffee and then came back to sit with me. She then asked me if the problem that I had at work would stop us going to Chiangmai, I thought about this and then I said to her that there was nothing that I could do at the weekend anyway, so this would definitely not stop us going to Chiangmai.
As soon as I got to the dome that morning, I asked the operators to try and get Chiloey to come and see me as quickly as they could, we had the usual problem with my pronunciation of his name, but eventually they all went to arrange this for me. They returned to the dome about one hour later and I could see from their faces that they had not been successful, one of them then told me that Chiloey had gone back to the Laos border again and there was a big problem there now, they were actually involved in a major gun battle against Laos military insurgents into Thailand and Chiloey was the Commander-in-charge of the Thai defence forces. I then told the RTAF dome operators that I would be leaving the dome then and I was not sure when I would return, because I had to sort this problem out with the Bofors gun. Then I drove back to the hotel and went straight up to my room, On was in there and I just told her that I had some important phone calls to make, then I sat down on the bed and picked up the phone. I then phoned Annex Motors and asked for Dumrong, I hoped that he could help with this, Annex motors being the Thai agent for our company should help with this, it is for solving problems that may crop up like this one, that is the main reason that they get paid 15% of the total contract price. When Dumrong came on the phone, I tried to explain about the problem to him, but with his limited English, on the phone it was very difficult, so in the end I just asked him if he could come to see me at the hotel as soon as possible. I then made myself a cup of tea and tried to explain to On about the problem that I now had, I don't think that she completely understood what I was saying, but she made sympathetic noises and gestures and listened to me ranting about it.
Dumrong arrived at the hotel about thirty minutes later and phoned up to my room, I told him to meet me in the hotel coffee shop in five minutes and then I went down to see him. I tried to explain in detail over a beer exactly what the problem was and he seemed to understand most of it, but I then decided that it would be much easier if I took him to the dome and physically showed him what I wanted and what I wanted to do. We then went to the dome and I did show him and I tried to explain to him in simple English exactly what I needed and he seemed to understand, he told me that with his job he had a lot of contacts with the military and he would go around all of his contacts and see if he could find me a Bofors 4070 gun barrel that was available for me and then he left. I then went to the Cafe On, with all of the excitement and rushing around that day, I had forgotten to eat. I just sat in the Cafe On all afternoon that day. There was nothing for me to do at the dome now, I could only hope that Dumrong would come up with something soon, so after my meal I just sat and had a few beers in there that afternoon. I drove back to the hotel at the normal time that evening and went to the lounge, On came down and sat with me and we had our usual night of listening to the band in there and then also as usual now, we went into the discotheque later.
When we went to our room that night, I was thinking about what I should do the next day, there was no real need for me to go to the dome the next day, because there was nothing that I had to do there without having the counterweight for the 4070 and Dumrong could contact me easier at the hotel if he had found anything for me, also the next evening we would be flying to Chiangmai and I was still thinking about all of this as I eventually drifted off to sleep that night.
'And so it goes On!'
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Me - Ian Reed / John McMiken (The Legless Fool)
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