• Bob Taylor

Musings - Day 34

Updated: Feb 1

Day 34 – 29th January 2020

A brief synopsis of the four days in the car – parting company with Nick. Thank you for your messages of support – keep them coming – Malaysia by Friday.

Last day with Nick today, and I will miss our chats. Over the past four days we have covered almost 800 miles driving, and we have put the world to right on so many issues. It is amazing that I have probably seen Nick maybe half a dozen times since school, and yet there are a remarkable amount of denominators that we've discovered. From people we both know locally, to events, travel, political persuasions, music – a whole host of stuff, that we have shared but not shared! (Not entirely inappropriate expression) We could have talked for England – the pair of us. Laughing our socks off at times. Our evenings have mellowed (probably to do with age) as the days have unfolded. First night Beatles tribute band, second night nice restaurant, just a couple of bars, third night just restaurant, fourth night the place was virtually closed! Surat Thani was always a landmark destination for us both. Nick because of his commitments and a long drive back, myself as a staging post for the South of Thailand next stage journey passage. When we started off this morning there was a mystery warning light that appeared on Nicks cars dashboard cluster. A small orange cogwheel indicator, suggesting gearbox perhaps? It caused a little concern, but we monitored it and it went off after a brief stop. Homework done it doesn’t seem anything serious and it hasn’t occurred again, so fingers crossed because he has eight hundred miles to travel back. On our journey today Nick informed me during our conversations, of ridiculously quirky oddball legislation in Thailand. For example: Nick has become a property owner, of not one but two entirely separate properties in the South East of Thailand. But theoretically that statement is not true, because he had to purchase a zero returning limited company, with at least two other Thai directors, to buy the 49% of the property shares. Now the other directors sign affidavits to state that they have no concern, or ability to make any financial decisions within that company, forthwith. Thereby the company owns the property, even though it is not trading. The principle is that no foreigner can own outright a property in Thailand. Seems odd, agreed, and potentially fraught with dangers, but it isn’t the case with the signed statements because the largest individual percentage owner, then has the right to sell on the company when he / she sells the property. It seems to work very well, but no matter how you dress it up, you cannot ever declare that it is 100% risk free. Another example which I really struggled with the premise, is that if you are a foreigner, even though you might possess a Thai National I.D. card, you are construed to be of blame for any accident that you may be involved in. The grounds for that bizarre hypothesis being that if you weren’t in Thailand, then the accident may not have happened, so therefore however indirect, you are to blame! Dumbfounded at the very notion that it could be a legal base for argument!

Woke up to a beautiful breakfast setting this morning – check out the pictures below.

Earlier today we laid testament to the most ridiculous building site routine that either of us have ever witnessed. Now before I go headlong into the description of the event, let me first set the scene, by saying that we were observers from a bar across the street. Several others had gathered around the little street bar, who eventually all spontaneously applauded the very noisy outcome. So there is a white pick up van that is delivering some supplies to the building site. He has a few boxes on the back and a set of what looks like around fifty or so two inch diameter steel rods. The rods were rested at an angle of around forty five degrees from the rear tailgate to a small frame above the cab of the pick-up. I estimate that the rods were probably twenty feet long and overhanging the vehicle at both ends. With care to the safety aspect I must declare that the conscientious driver had tied a red rag over the rear overhang, affording a warning to other road users of the possible danger. So the pick-up pulls onto the site and seemingly reports to the site office. All attention is paid to the safety aspects of this site with no hard hats, or high visibility jackets, and every worker wearing the obligatory flip flops. After unloading the boxes, it came to the time when a fork lift should unload the rods and take them to a proper storage facility, before use. Our interpretation of this is that the site didn’t have a fork lift. So being just a tad put out by this, the intrepid driver looked annoyingly pensive. He perused the pick-up, surveyed the immediate area, deliberating thoughtfully. As though a light bulb had been switched on, he sought to rectify the situation through his driving skills, about to be displayed. Forward, slam brakes, reverse slam brakes – No movement of the heavy steel rods. Reverse slam brakes forward slam, stop. Slowly change position via five or six small shunts, now has slightly more room for aggressive shunts. Forward, slam brakes, reverse slam brakes – No movement of the heavy steel rods. Gets out the pick-up, gets a large piece of bamboo off the site floor. (No health and safety issues there) and wedges the bamboo under rods. Slight movement using bamboo as a fulcrum, with his whole body weight. Then places two bricks under front tyres. Reverses about a metre, then major revs, handbrake off, first gear hits the bricks, and slams the brakes. The whole cargo of rods, slide off the back of the pick up onto the dusty floor of the site! Who needs a fork lift? Gets out, moves the bricks, and drives forward. The applause from our side of the road is answered by a very proud thumbs up from the pick-up driver. As he pulls off the site we can see all fifty rods on the deck, strewn spuriously for their individual stacking by someone else. Job done, damage done – who cares? As he drives off we see other site workers in pairs, all in flip flops carry the individual heavy looking rods to a storage point out of sight. Nick and I, just observe open mouthed at the solution to unloading the steel rods.

On the way to the station - just had to stop to take piccies.

This really was the quietist place either of had been to in Thailand, but we eventually had to leave to go to the railway station where Nick and I were parting company. As Nick went off to find a WC, I dumped my gear in a heap, in order to check to train due in one hour’s time at midnight plus twenty five. You guessed it delayed by an hour and fifteen! The train journey through the night, is for tomorrows blog.

Position: 9°08'44” N 99°19'26”E – Miles completed: 11126

Location: Surat Thani, Thailand 23:42 - 29th January 2020 - Journey 34 days 22 hours


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