200 baht map, red shirt run-in, and changes… by WFTM

Was back in bkk the past weekend and what can I say other than time flies when you are in Bangkok for a only a few days. I had a huge to do list – work, errands, get laid, work, organize my hectic life somewhat, hit a g-club, call as many girls as I could to see if there numbers still worked, eat some tasty Thai food and catch up with as many as my Bkk based friends as possible. What can I say other than of course my list was way too long and before I knew it I was rushing into Lolitas just to make sure everything still worked. I never got to the gclub but I managed to fit in a run or two to Nana and Cowboy. Back when I lived full-time in Bangkok I would spend so much time avoiding these places or at the very least exploring other options but now that I am not in Bangkok anymore my desire for seeing as many naked girls as I can is overwhelming and forces me back to old habits.

Not much has changed in Nana and the place could use a good scrubbing but the fortress has a few gems still kicking. The new semi-nude policy at the Rainbows is encouraging but it seems to be that only the ugly girls are getting naked. Spankys is slowly building a following up, Mandarin has a great lineup and g-spot actually has a new crop of cuties.

Over on Cowboy – apart from the regulars bars a lot has changed. Apache is now a beer bar – kind of strange to see a go-go bar convert to a non go-go. The bar group with all the lights is going vegas style with Our Place being turned into Club Rio. Not sure if the name change has helped since I did not bother to go in. Tony’s and Toy bar is now called Sahara – I also did not manage to make it into the new remodel to check it out. The reality was my old stand bys like Shark, Sheba and Baccara where all I could manage before caving.

Things seemed a tad quiet and the impending red-shirt mob was started to take its toll on Bkk with the streets looking much emptier than usual but this made getting around town and running errands the easiest it had ever been. Enough of the partying and debauchery – I had 1 day and 1 night to get a nice ride in. I geared up the beast and headed to Rayong – close to the water but not too far away thus making it a nice overnighter option.

I stayed outside of town in a small Thai owned bungalow that I discovered just as it was getting too dark to want to ride anymore. I parked the bike, dumped my gear and sat outside the kitchen to have some dinner, a bottle of hong thip and a friendly conversation with the owner. The one thing I miss about Thailand is the laid back, friendly nature of most of the locals outside of the Bkk sphere. The owner was on his 4th big bottle of Leo and lamenting the political hell of Thailand and how much it has ruined business over the last few years. It was tough for me to do anything but agree and offer him some of my prized hong thip.

I noticed he was working on his laptop and I asked if I could use it to check some things online. He slid it over and said have at it. After I logged out of my email he asked me if I could look at a web problem he was having. I was buzzed but figured what the hell. Turns out he used Google Sites for his hotel’s website and was having problems with it. I looked at the error message he was getting and even though Google has done well with the Thai language – the majority of the interface for Sites and the system messages were in English. All along the program had been telling him to upgrade his Internet Exploder browser and not allowing him to edit his site. I god rid of exploder, installed FireFox and fixed his site. He bought my booze.

In the morning I hit the road early after a cilly ocean swim and wound around the backroads while trying to keep the GPS pointed somewhat in the general direction of Bangkok. I was expecting to encounter red-shit traffic induced hell as I got closer to Bangkok but figured I had a few hours to go. Generally between the GPS and my nominal ability to read Thai street signs I manage to get where I am going and stay off the tollways. For those who don’t ride motorcycles, for some stupid reason, bikes are not allowed on tollways – even big ones. It is actually illegal and the cops will fine you if they catch you on one.

To my horrific surprise, must have been daydreaming about nataree, I happened to come around a big bend to find myself looking at a toll booth. It seems I took a wrong turn and the frontage road I was on lead to a tollway and I was not paying attention. I looked to turn around and basically go the wrong way just to get out of the mess I was in but over the loudspeaker I was being told in Thai to approach the toll booth. I considered just turning around anyway and driving away but you never know if doing something like that will make it worse or better. I sucked it up and rode up to the booth.

The attendant came out out of the booth and was joined by some supervisor looking dude. They both game me this what an idiot look and explained that I was not suppose to be here. I know I said – I am stupid. They told me they are happy to let me go but there was no way to get off the expressway for about 1 or 2 km and that the roadblock ahead, due to the red shirt shit, meant the place was crawling with police. Fuck. As we were talking I noticed a uniformed police guy coming my way and motioning for me to follow him. I rode up to him and got of the bike to wai him and look stupid. He said to come with him.

I was escorted into a trailer while another cop started looking over the bike. He was taking notes. My bike has no plates so not sure what he could be writing down. In the trailer the main cop proceeded to tell me what I was in trouble and was not allowed on the tollway. The other cop then came in with a notebook where he had scribbled in English the color of my bike, the place I bought it from and that it did not have paperwork. I had the paperwork on me but I don’t have a Thai license and my plates are not made yet. I figured I would just wait to see what they wanted. The older cop grabbed the notebook and asked me to write my name down and where I was from. I wrote down England and used my friend’s name. Then he said they would have to charge me – for a map so that I would not do this again knowing I would not get lost in the future due to the map. Of course no one seemed to notice the big ass GPS mounted to the handlebars but I declined to mention it. I forked over my 200 baht, another wai and looked visibly shaken. Inside I was busting up knowing that I just paid 200 baht for a major infraction on my bike without plates that I was driving without a license. I love Thailand!

I left the debacle behind me and headed back to Bkk. I was about 45 mins out of town on the Chon Buri expressway when I noticed the line of pickup trucks full of red shirts filling the slow lane. This section of the expressway is rather strange. The far left lane is technically the slow lane and the far right lane is the fast lane but every few km’s or so cars in the fast lane slow down to make a u-turn since that is the only way to get to locations on the other side of the expressway. This makes the middle lane about the only safe option. There are also a lot of large humps in the road that create blind spots every so often. Being rattled slightly by the cops I should have taken a chill for a bit but I wanted to get back to bkk.

I fly over one of the humps and suddenly realize at the bottom of the small grade the traffic is at a dead stop in all three lanes. Worse – some of the lanes are full of red shirts walking around and using their hand clappers. Fuck. My bike has ABS and I was stomping on the back brake and pulling in the front as hard as I could. I could already feel the bike jerk across the pavement as the ABS kicked in to keep the wheels from locking up and sliding. I have no idea how fast I was going. I have ridden motorcycles since I was 8 and it is a foregone conclusion that if you ride you might go down someday. As some riders will say it is not if but when. When was looking to be right now.

The slow lane was not an option since the red shirt trucks were parked with the revelers out in their lanes clapping it up. Middle lane had a big rig. That is bad – since you don’t want to go under it despite what they do in the Bourne flicks and the fast lane had a small pickup truck – sans bumper. Center divider not a great option since you may go over it or slam against it. Back of the small pick-up truck was the target thus avoiding hitting anyone. I rode the bullet to the bitter end as my front wheel came to rest smack in the middle of the small truck and the impact turned the bars and sent me to the ground. I jumped up fearing I was going to get run over and luckily the traffic was mostly stopped – it seems the red shirts saw me rocketing towards the truck and decided to hold the traffic back from more folks doing the same. I picked myself up, tried to get my bike back up and see if I killed anyone.

No injuries and minimal bike scrappage. Small dent in the back of the truck. Shit. I moved my bike to the side and realized I was facing the owner of the truck. He was nice enough to make sure I was okay before he started pointing at his truck. Hmmmm. At this point about 30 people where around since the traffic was stopped due to the military roadblock about 500 yards ahead. They had not noticed my mess yet which was a good thing. I started to talk to the guy in the truck but before I could say much a few of the red shirts asked if I was okay. I said yes. Bike okay? I think so. Then they went to the truck driver to tell him to get in his car. No one hurt – minimal damage. Seems the red shirts were worried the cops would be brought over and thus exacerbate the situation further. Non red-shirt people were peeved enough at the traffic jam. I took this as my cue to leave. I started the bike – took the u-turn and was on the other side heading towards a gas station. I am sure the truck driver was upset and I don’t blame him but the red-shirts caused the mess and I figured I should take the option to skate.

Bike needs servicing. I got servicing later. I miss Bangkok.

12 thoughts on “200 baht map, red shirt run-in, and changes… by WFTM

  1. Not much changed in 30 years,1982 drove a honda 400 4 all the way down the eastern seaboard up to the Cambodia border then back to pattaya & home to bkk but screwed up and went on the highway by mistake, the cops busted me after 100m, no licencse no docs etc. but lots of bullshit & 2 x 100 bt notes we were best of buddies & away I went.
    Got laid that night in Pams bar in soi cowboy.
    Those were the days.

  2. 200 TB only? — you were lucky, maybe. O maybe the coppers outside Bangkok are just not as greedy as we might expect them to be. In Isaan, I’ve been pulled a few times, and never had to pay anything for not having a driver’s license or a plate on my moped.

    In Silom, Bangkok, however, I did cough up 1,200 TB for a traffic infraction and no license and no plate.
    ***
    It once happened to me to encounter the tollway booth, but I did make a u-turn!

  3. “Back when I lived full-time in Bangkok I would spend so much time avoiding these places or at the very least exploring other options but now that I am not in Bangkok anymore my desire for seeing as many naked girls as I can is overwhelming and forces me back to old habits.”

    I can relate. I was in BKK in December, burned out on oilys, go-go’s and all the other things I’ve done over the last 8 years visiting and living in Thailand. Told myself I would avoid Nana, Lolita’s, Cowboy, and the like on my next trip. Been back home in the US since late December and am coming back April 24th, and can’t wait to hit Nana/Cowboy upon arrival. My dismal night in a Reno strip club 2 nights ago made me realize how great I have it when in Thailand.

  4. I get pulled over all the time in Pattaya for donations to the local constabulary and produce Aus car license. They do not read english and insisting it is ok for rifding a motorcycle here and produce copy of an international license seems to fix everything. I love Thailand.

  5. @Combover: “Erm, what exactly is the point of this story?”

    Where do you think you are, the Oxford Debating Society?

  6. Salty: In Ubon Ratchatani I got pulled on a motorcycle and asked for a license (I don’t have one from anywhere). I offered a laminated, license-sized copy of my passport. The copper looked at me and said in perfect English, “This isn’t your license, it’s your passport. Can I have your license please?” I left poorer. Can’t remember if I paid 200 or 400 baht.

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