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Final Statistics: Alex & Maz Total distance: 93,550km
Furthest Point: Rotorua, NZ Now settled in Sydney, Australia
Final Statistics: Martin Total distance: 79,698km
Furthest Point: Hobart, Australia Now settled in Bristol, UK

Our knight in shining armour arrives

Written by Alex Towns. Uploaded 26 July 2006.

Thailand re-revisited, Country 19, Diary entry 24th-31st May 2006, Total distance in Thailand (first pass!): 4099 KM, (second pass!): 3005 KM, (Total): 7104 KM

Back to civilisation, first things first was to text Rob, an old colleague of mine from MRO Software days, who was over on business in Bangkok and conveniently had a hotel room right in the centre! Back in our days working from Woking (a far cry from Bangkok) it was customary (nay folklore) that after a heavy night on the town Rob would always have a room at the Holiday Inn at his disposal and everyone would end up back at his to crash (sometimes Rob went AWOL and never actually slept in the room himself – although we did find him back at the office snuggled up amongst a heap of MRO T-shirts in the morning..!!) Extending this courtesy to us now in foreign lands, we jumped at the opportunity of staying in a hotel room… with a comfortable bed, aircon, a TV, a stereo, hot running water AND a sit down western toilet - luxury!!

A nice comfy bed to relax in!

With rough directions texted through we were on our way and miraculously found his palace with little fuss. First things first then… beer and wouldn’t you know it just across the road was the ‘Robin Hood’ serving pub grub, John Smiths and Kilkenny. Fed and watered, we followed Rob (now a veteran of these parts) to an entertainment street where we were introduced to his local bar and met some of the friends he’s made whilst enjoying one or two or perhaps three whiskey & cokes. The night seemed to pass quickly and at whatever time we eventually got back to our plush hotel room, Rob very kindly gave up his bed and opted for the sofa. With aircon set and tucked beneath a comfortable duvet, resting our heads on the softest of pillows we soon sunk into a deep restful sleep.

Rob dragged himself up and headed off to work, leaving us to get up lazily and work out a plan for the day. Since leaving the UK nearly everything electronic that we own has died in some way or other, they simply aren’t cut out for being used on a daily basis, so we had a fun filled few days ahead of us zipping around Bangkok, dropping everything off for repair. The main catastrophe has been the death of our HP laptop (a complete piece of cr@p) The DVD burner dying was frustrating, the electric shocks you get when you typed we could live with, however when the internal power supply blew up, we knew the thing had breathed it’s sorry last. To the rescue however came Rob and MRO Software. When Rob asked if there was anything he could bring out for us, he was thinking more like chocolate or marmite, he wasn’t expect to be asked for a laptop..!!?!?! He came up trumps however and managed to convince MRO Software to donate one of the retired sales laptops to the cause. A complete lifesaver…. A huge thanks Rob, we owe you mate and of course a BIG thumbs up to MRO Software for their kindness.

Relaxing by the pool with the new laptop

Feeling a bit peckish, on the way down in the lift, we first stopped off at the restaurant floor and were faced with a buffet breakfast with something for everyone. We gave our room number & signed on Rob’s behalf – he did say make yourselves at home – then started to graze. I think I managed 3 breakfasts in all, I just couldn’t resist the sushi – well it was almost brunch. We guided our stomachs back into the lift and set out to track down, HP, Canon, Kingston and Sony to name but a few. We’d also been tipped off by Martin that we could get the necessary 60 day Indonesian visa in Bangkok and although it was closed for visa submission (every embassy you ever want is always closed the first time you turn up) we grabbed a Burger King with Martin and Charbel, whilst we left Tinfish in a precarious position half blocking the side street with a busier than expected flow of traffic.

That evening we met up with some more of Rob’s friends in a club that ex-pats go to, where the strange custom was to buy spirit by the bottle, then just get a round of mixers. Apart from being considerably cheaper you could mix the strength of drink according to taste. Why some of them bothered with the mixer at all I’m not sure, but the bottle quickly emptied. Unfortunately I was being reminded why you just shouldn’t deviate from the local cuisine (which they know how to cook) and try western food (which they’re told how to cook) as my BK Whooper jostled for pole position in my aching stomach… or perhaps I should have gone easier at breakfast. Nevertheless, with beads of sweat on my brow Maz noticed that I was in some discomfort and we left Rob to his party… of course by now we had our own room keys so were free to come and go as we pleased.

The view from our Marriott room

I’ve no idea when the cat came in, we were out for the count in his bed, although we had prepared the couch ready for him, but I’m sure just being horizontal was all that Rob required. Not wishing to outstay our welcome, or at least give Rob a break and his bed back for a few nights, we made use of our left over Marriott reward points, which we’d accumulated from years of living in plush hotels during a previous life and booked 3 nights at the Bangkok Marriott. Having stayed there before on a previous visit, we were aware that happy hour was due to start very soon, where they had free drink and nibbles for members of the Marriott Executive Club, which I still happened to be a silver member of.

Hot footing it across town without a moment to spare, we parked up Tinfish then dashed to reception to check in. For some reason they wanted our passports which were deeply locked away within the car and not wanting to miss our free drinks we made up some story that an embassy had them. Instead of speeding things up we had to talk with the head receptionist who eventually agreed to turn a blind eye as we tried to explain how weary we were and in need of a relaxing drink after a long journey (from across the river!) Hurdle over, round the corner, lounge in sight, can almost taste the glass of wine and those delightful little nibbly bits, give lady at entrance silver card - ”I’m sorry sir but the executive lounge is only for gold members and above” - NOOOOOOO it can’t be. I still think she took one look at us and made that up on the spot! Deflated at being a mere human again we licked our wounds at the hotel bar and sipped a Kir Royal in defiance. No silver mumble mumble.

Ok what shall we try next

The next few days were packed with lounging by the pool and reading books – and rebuilding our new DELL laptop with the latest software & patches. I must have been sat in front of a laptop more on this trip than I ever did when I was an actual software consultant – ok no funny comments! To our delight we found a Swensens Ice Cream shop with a special offer on… basically as much ice cream and chocolate you can squeeze into a sundae glass and still fit some chocolate brownies, banana and a wafer on top, which became our lunchtime ritual.

Why have we all these bits left?

Worried that Rob might be getting used to his bed again, it was time to pay a return visit as our stay with Mr Marriott was at an end. Rob of course welcomed us back with open arms. The following day, with the car still making peculiar noises, I met up with Richard our host from Jungle Trekker Holidays who got the workshop to give Tinfish the once over in preparation for our off-road adventure with them. With a bucket full of worn bearings they thought they’d isolated the whirring noise, but after everything was reassembled, the noise unfortunately persisted… what oh what can it be..??? Let’s just hope she can survive a little longer.

Whilst I enjoyed myself at the garage, Maz was tasked with submitting the Indonesian visa applications and doing a round up (managing a 60km round trip of Bangkok) of some of the repairs that had already been fixed. Space also needed to be made in Tinfish for the return of our roaming visitor Max, I just hope he believed us when we said pack light.

Thanks again Rob for all your hospitality… let us know when you’re back in Bangkok… you never know we might just be passing :o)

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Comment from Jack B
Glad you got the Laptop - We were worried that Rob might sell it on.....
31 Jul 2006 @ 08:53:20