dinghy #1 going into place
Yesterday was one of the hottest days we've had at the yard yet, which makes sense because April is the middle of the summer here. Oddly enough the weather channel website says it was only "feels like" 113, which isn't the hottest we've had yet (122 as far as I can tell). But we also had no breeze and were standing on a steel deck that radiates heat, so really I think it was a lot hotter. Even after sunset the temperature was "feels like 109." I spent the morning wiping more residue off of the turnbuckles, which is a lot longer process than you can probably imagine! The little grooves are just barely big enough to fit my fingernail in so I have to really carefully wipe through in little sections to make sure I get it all.
the peanut gallery on the dock
But it's still kind of fun. Just after I ate lunch I went on a fairly long errand, which was a bit of an adventure. I needed to get to a small electronics shop on the opposite side of Bangkok
so they could replace some parts of our main engine control panel. I took a cab to the BTS station in Bangkok, our normal ride. Then I took the BTS about 5 stations down to where it interchanges with the MRT (subway). I took the MRT to the end of the line and then got in another cab to the store. This all took about two hours. I had a piece of paper with a vague sort of map mostly written in Thai and the address of the store also written only in Thai.
waiting for the other dinghy
So I handed that to the driver and off we went. But we actually only went a block down, and then turned into some small alleyways deep into a sort of poorer residential zone. After like 15 minutes of going through a maze of little streets, some so tight the driver had to make multiple-point turns to get around corners, and yelling out the window to everyone in the street "Wanchai?! Wanchai?!" (the name of the shop), my driver finally pulled back onto the street we started on and stopped the car. I was so glad that he was a persistent driver, he could have easily told me sorry, nope and let me out there. But instead he got out his cell phone and called the number of the store and talked rapidly in Thai for a few minutes.
Then he turned to me and in very broken English said something to the effect of, "get out of the car, turn right, he will meet you." And I was kind of like you want me to whaaaaa? But I did it and he drove off, leaving me to walk around the corner about 100 feet away and see a sign that said, you guessed it, Wanchai Electronics. And sure enough, there was Wanchai himself to greet me on the sidewalk. From the collection of shoes at the door I gathered I was supposed to take mine off, which I did (after stepping over the dog that was sleeping on the stoop), and then immediately handed over the control panel and sat down on a small stool to wait. The store was very small, just 3 desks and some shelves, and had an equal amount of random electronics parts and Buddhist shrines.
view from the bow of the dinghies in place, and check out the squeaky clean threads on the turnbuckle in the foreground!
There was one other woman there at another desk and after a few minutes when she didn't move I realized she was sleeping sitting up in her chair (she had sunglasses on so I couldn't tell this right away). After a while of tinkering Wanchai was apparently waiting for a phone call before continuing so he started offering me all sorts of food and drink. I managed to decline coffee, tea, and cold water before finally accepting a small wrapped candy. Pretty harmless and I was just hoping it wasn't black beans. It wasn't, but little writing on one of the 3 seperate plastic wrappings informed me that it was a dried plum. I sort of gnawed on it for a little while and then subtely (I hope) spit the rest out in the wrapper.
moving one of the huge weights during the test
But then the sleeping woman, who had since woken up and was puttering about, brought me some water and I was grateful to have something else to do rather than stare at this guy's wall some more. Also the small room reeked of something similar to diesel fuel and I was starting to feel a bit dizzy by the time he got his phone call. After a lot of deliberating and phone calls I left the shop with some of the replacement parts and headed back to the yard, over 3 hours after I'd left! The rides back were a lot quicker, I seemed to catch the trains at the right time and the traffic wasn't that bad. When I arrived back at the yard the guys had already left for home, so I decided to stay and help Travis if I could because he always works so late.
I ended up entering a bunch of information into the computer, which was fun, and seeing the yard at night was a totally cool new perspective. The exciting part of the evening was when Travis told me that I had to take a motorbike from the yard to the main road (the other option was to walk). I'd been putting off riding on the back of a scooter (they are just like taxis here, you hop on the back and the driver takes you wherever you want to go) for as long as possible because the idea has always scared me, not to mention the fatality rate of 125 per day in Thailand. But secretly I've always wanted to try and never would have done it myself. So on I hopped behind the driver (it was a big seat so Travis was behind me; it's not unusual to see entire families of 4-6 people piled onto one scooter) and we were off! So it was probably like the slowest ride ever compared to being on the main road, but that 45 seconds sure was cool! I was grinning like a little kid the entire ride.
It was so fun! I think I'll limit my scooter experience to something like that, rather than brave the 60 mph weaving through city traffic style driving that comes with any other territory, but it sure was fun to try! After a quick meal at JJs before they closed I wrote some emails and went to bed, ready for another day at work today. We were all dreading the heat again today but it didn't seem quite as bad today for some reason, even though I just checked the current temperature and its says "feels like 99." And this is at almost midnight. Again I spent the morning and part of the afternoon wiping more wires, but the rest of our time was taken up by preparations for the stability test.
salon port side
I'm still not 100 percent clear on exactly what the deal is, but basically we loaded up the boat with all our gear to simulate normal weight conditions (anything missing will be added to the calculations later) and then a big crane placed some huge weights on different sides of the boat to test the boat's reaction. The weight wasn't huge compared to the boat's weight, so it only tipped the boat a couple degrees or so, but using this information we can later calculate what would happen under other situations just by plugging numbers in. So that was cool to watch, but what also was really neat was seeing the boat all clean and stripped of extra items. There was a huge pile of random stuff on the dock, but down below looked fairly close to it's finished version, complete with flooring and all the cushions for the bunks and salon.
salon starboard side
When the test was done we removed some of the things that had been added for it that we don't want around right now, like the dinghies and the dinghy davits, and then we headed home. In the cab someone brought up the Colisseum, which is a sort of bar/show place about a block down from us that we pass every day to and from work. You can't miss the building from the BTS or the street, it's a huge fake stone building with a giant bust of Zeus holding a beer mug sticking out of it. We've always talked about going there but never actually have. For whatever reason we decided to go tonight and walked there straight from our BTS stop still in our dirty work clothes. We ran into some friends of a friend on the way there and they decided to join us, so that was fun.
It is probably one of the funniest places ever. We had no idea what to expect, and I'm not even sure I could narrow it down to one theme, but I guess beer-Vegas sums it up pretty well. In the entrance area there is a model of the real Colisseum with the Heinekin logo on it, pretty much the only actual reference to ancient Rome in the entire place. In the main theater area where there are tons of tables and a huge stage are two sets of giant fake stone Mt. Rushmore busts on the walls, one of the real thing and one with Thai leaders instead of American ones. It was so tacky it was awesome. We were seated (probably quite purposely as there was no one else in the place and we were tourists) in the front and center table by the stage, which only came into play just before we left when a Thai cover band came on and started singing Thai pop songs.
I love live music so this was just fine with me to watch, but most of the guys had had enough and only myself and Eliot and the two other people we met along the way stayed longer. I'm so glad I stayed, it was actually one of the funniest hours I've spent here. The whole place was filling up (with only Thai people) and a sort of variety show started. There was some more singing, then we think some stand up comedy (it's all in Thai), and then all of a sudden there was a drag queen with two male dancers in red hotpants dancing around being whipped with foam tubes while lip-synching... it was pretty impressive I have to admit. In a funny way. These people were all obviously having fun with everything and cracking up and making jokes, definitely not taking themselves too seriously.
the Colisseum... too bad all my pictures from inside are blury!
So Eliot and I and the other two had a good laugh. There was a Village People impersonation, fake boy band dancing to a Madonna song, and a 70s style dance off. At that was only before we left because it was getting late. It was sooo funny and I'd definitely go back again to see the whole show. Even though we couldn't understand a word they were saying we could appreciate the humor they were implying and it was definitely a good time. Ok I just wrote for way longer than I intended, and used way too many parentheses for my own good, so I'm going to stop now and start to post some pictures. Hopefully sailing on tuesday!