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Raft factory and Bangkok wanderings

(written by Dave)

The days in Bangkok have flown by. It’s a very busy city and we’ve had lots of chores to do. Nancy made a nice list that has kept us (me mostly) focused. One of the things on the list was a new computer. We’ve decided that we need to have two of them while we study French and probably when we continue riding. It was temping to get a fancy iPad but the lack of compatibility with our current netbook pushed us towards a near copy of what we have. We spent most of the afternoon yesterday wheeling and dealing with the computer sales folks in the infamous Pantip Plaza.

One of the hardest parts of buying a computer at Pantip was getting someone who would sell us a computer with a legit copy of Windows. Everyone sold laptops with either Linux, no operating system or, with no encouragement from us, an illegal copy of windows for $6 USD. It seemed that everyone had a portable hard-drive with heaps of pirated software. One clerk even specifically noted that “everyone” wants the copied Windows, no one wants the legit version. Remember, we are talking about stores with clerks – everyone was openly pushing copied software. We eventually found a shop that would load licensed Windows (for a lot more than $6 but we were doing the right thing). I was again surprised that the prices were about on par with the US or Australia. Either that or I’m a bad negotiator, perhaps both.

In our last post I noted a home-made raft that we could see in an alleyway from our hotel window. We decided to have a closer look at the alleyway. It turned out that what I thought was just a raft was actually the location of a home-made raft factory. What looked like bags of garbage and plastic bottles were actually a collection of bottles specifically for floatation in the middle of the raft. You could clearly see that there was a major production line in place here when the rafts were being made. They had a pipe cutting station, bottle sorting and tying station, pipe assembly area and even final assembly area. I felt like I’d stumbled on an ancient archaeology site with each discovery. Only, this site was only a couple weeks old and the people building the rafts are people living today, not in some time long long ago. It’s all abandoned now, as no one needs rafts today. Hopefully next year’s rainy season won’t be near this bad again – or perhaps the government will get some flood mitigation strategies in place before it gets this bad again.

Today we were planning on a Chinatown walk, doing at least a little tourist focused activity between chores. As we were heading there we received an SMS from Fausto saying our bikes were done so we diverted. The boxes look perfect so that chore is done and the Bike Zone gets full marks. Speaking of baggage, we shipped a box of stuff ahead to France today as well. We are worried about getting zapped by Emirates for being overweight. We should be closer to the limit now, we hope.

We headed back out for dinner near Victory Monument. I wanted to get some sunset photos near the monument and there is a market surrounding the base. Photos were successful and we managed to find a pretty tasty fried chicken rice. Tomorrow we are going to try the Chinatown walk and later work our way to the airport. Our flight leaves here at 1AM the next morning so our next post will probably come from Nice.

Oh yeah, today I took and probably failed my French test as well. For sure Nancy and I are headed for beginner class together. Hopefully we will learn to speak (and spell) better than the bag factory art director who approved the design for the bag we snapped while we were out shopping.

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3 responses to “Raft factory and Bangkok wanderings

  1. I was wondering what had become of you. Glad to hear you are fine. I wonder how France will feel to you.

  2. Well Dave and Nancy, you have reached your last day in Asia before heading off to France. I am sure the last 5 months in South East Asia brought you many fond as well as unique memories, I found your hotel ranking amusing, especially comments about the squat toilet, which is actually quite common place in this region.

    Don’t forget that I still have your sleeping bags.

    So till your next port of call, bon voyage and au revoir from SE Asia.

    • Thanks Michael for following us still. We haven’t forgotten the sleeping bags and tent. We would like them sent to France and will contact you with the details. SE Asia was great. The best part was the people. And it all started with you guys staying up late to meet us when we flew in. Happy Holidays to you and the rest of the gang. PS: we are out of choc shake – made a nice mealsupplementwhen we came across dodgy food supplies.

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