Thailand Round 1.
Bangkok. Thursday December 5th to Monday December 16.
It was late, about 11:00 when my flight got into BKK. I took the airport link train toward the city and got off 1 stop from the end in Phaya Thai. I had no reservation and no idea where I would get a place to stay. I lied to all the taxi and tuk tuk drivers. I told them I had a place to stay even though it was obvious I was searching most of them get a commission to take you to their hotel, their massage parlor or their tailor shop. I found a decent hotel in a part of BKK that was very Indian. It still had many Thia people but there the hotel and surrounding businesses were owned by Indian expats. I was excited for a good curry.
In the morning I found a taxi and told him I want to go to the protests. In December, the protests that I saw were pretty calm. But I wanted to see what they were about. Near the Democracy Monument the streets were blocked by people camping out for blocks in each direction. A stage was setup where speakers would talk. I walked around and snapped some pictures and watched the sun go down as I drank a beer listening and watching the protesters. They had whistles and plastic and clappy things like you would have a birthday party or something. No one was yelling. No one was burning anything. There was not even any police around.
|Could be any street in BKK|
|Coolest potato chips ever.|
|A little to hot for this guys.|
|Recycled from tires|
|Some protesters live in tents.|
|Some protesters live under sheets of plastic made for product labels.|
|Some play chess.|
|Every day traffic in BKK. Bumper to bumper.|
|Me and Charlie|
|Rewinding the film|
|Crazy BKK wiring.|
Getting the bike from Japan to Thailand was not cheap. $600 for the boat + $200 for customs in Japan + $800 for customs in Thailand = $1600 total. Could I have done the customs work in Thailand myself? Maybe. But most of the documents were in Thai. Could I have found a company who didn't bend me over so hard? Probably. This one was recommended on the GT riders website. They took me to get the bike, and to all the other offices in Leam Chebang. There is no way I would have been able to do it in 1 day. And this being a Friday, I was happy to get it before the weekend.
Finally, Oli and Charlie got their bike the same day I got mine. After getting my bike Leam Chebang, I had about 100 km to ride back to to my Hotel in BKK. It was hot and the traffic was horrible. It took me about 3 hours. For some reason, the bike was not charging so I could not even run my headlight. Luckily, not many motorcycles had lights and there were many streetlights. I stayed one more night at my hotel then checked in at their place for a few nights.
Oli and I worked side by side on our bikes. We talked about riding into Cambodia together. I wanted to leave sooner then monday. It was so great to see them get thier bike back. They had been with out if for over 2 months. To try to fix the charging problem, I replaced the Reg/rec from Tajikistan with a Chinese copy but the bike still wasn't charging. My voltage from the stator showed about 8 volts AC when it should be between 20 and 50. I also saw a short to ground on my stator. I called KTM Bangkok to see if they had a stator by they didn't. So I went to the shop because I knew there was 6 different forms of 690 there. I thought for sure I would be able to talk them into selling me one off a showroom bike. All my begging, name dropping and promises of great press couldn't get them to budge. I told them I had a flight in Phnom Penh Camboida and I couldn't wait for one to be ordered in. No luck. Time for a new plan.
I asked the KTM shop if they knew of a place that rewound electric motors. They wrote down an address and I got in a taxi. Never get in a taxi in BKK when you can get on a scooter. The taxi will take forever. The asshole took me almost out to the airport because traffic was blocking where I wanted to go. When he turned back go where I wanted, I had no idea where we were. But just then I noticed a small shop rewinding motors. "Stop the fooking taxi". The guy is saying something to me about how we are not there. "I don't care. Stop the taxi". He gets the picture as I open the door while it is still moving. I pay him about $13 worth and get out. I show the little shop my stator and they say its fooked. Yes sir, I know it is. I want some wire. Ohhh we can give you wire. He gave me about 5 meters of coated copper wire and wouldn't let me pay him anything for it. I decided to rely on the trains from then on. With copper wire, soldering gun, solder and epoxi in hand, I tore into my stator to the amazement of the other travelers at the hostel. Beers in hand, making a mess, I rewound the single pole that had a fault. But I didn't do a good job because when I was finished, there was still a fault. Then it hit me: There are 3 phases, 18 poles. 6 poles per phase which produce anywhere from 20 to 50 volts. If 1 phase was missing a pole, it would not be the end of the world. So I took the leads and soldered them together totally eliminating that pole. I put some silicon over the wire to seal it and put the stator back in my bike.
|Wire removed from the pole with the short to ground.|
|Soldered leads to remove the shorted pole.|
Since I lost a day messing with the stator Oli, Charlie and I made plans to leave in the morning after breakfast. Next stop.. Cambodia.