When in Chiang Mai, do as the Chiang Maianese (do).
Justin Yoshida’s location@2:26pm,12/26 Huai Rai, Den Chai, Phrae http://m.google.com/u/m/AL6Y8s
Everybody warned us about the long, windy mountain roads on the way to Chiang Mai, but they aren’t bad at all. I guess it’s because there isn’t a hill in sight standing on the tallest building in Maha Sarakham (my uni’s admin building). I’m moblogging this and eating with Mina right now, and we are in the windiest roads of the whole trip.
The scenery in these mountains looks a lot like Japan, except for the abundant banana trees. I’d rather be sliding around these corners in my old Silvia with speakers blaring ADF instead of bouncing around in a university van, but then again, who wouldn’t?
BTW, Max and Mina are being veritable angels so far.
We happened upon a stretch of fried grasshopper stands and decided to partake. They were most excellent.
Also, it turned out that one of the princesses of Thailand was in a motorcade behind us and we had to pull over with all the other cars on the road to clear it before she passed. I had my Nikon ready and will post photos later.
English camp was extremely successful this year; our new teaching format worked out very well and feedback from the students has been overwhelmingly positive so far. The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that they don’t want to have class tomorrow, which is understandable, but necessary since last Friday was a national holiday and I can’t let them fall behind the other class taking the same course.
Ajarn Teera is driving and I’m sitting shotgun, my weapon of choice is this trusty Samsung Galaxy 5 loaded with Android 2.1 and an improved Swype haptic input system.
It seems a member of the royal family is in this area because there are police stationed every hundred meters along the highway.
A few miles back we stopped on a particularly scenic bridge and I may have gotten a good shot:
Justin Yoshida’s location@10:34am,12/13 Phra Lap, Muang Khon kaen, Khon Kaen 40000 http://m.google.com/u/m/dS9IWg
The Crown is running better than it ever has before. The problem wasn’t the alternator. It was missing six little spring-loaded push pins that bridge the tops of the spark plugs with the coil packs.
Having this fixed after trying to figure it out for two years is indescribably liberating.
The other car is still in the shop, awaiting new boots for the right side A-arm. Today is the king’s birthday, so everything is closed; repairs will continue tomorrow.
We’ve been having a run of bad car luck as of late. A couple weeks ago, a cop from Khon Kaen backed into our parked Cefiro and broke off the front license plate holder. Nam saw it happen from the pediatrician’s clinic across the street where she had taken Max for a booster shot. She took it to my pal Ot’s shop and got it replaced (on the cop’s dime, of course).
The very next day, I lightly clipped a scooter that was running the wrong way down the street and crossed in front of me as I was waiting to turn out. The young female rider must have known it was her fault, and didn’t even stop. Ot was pretty surprised to see my car needing a new plate holder again and gave me a pity discount (the 2-in 2-days special).
Yesterday, we found out that the radiator which we replaced on the Cefiro 2 years ago was already rusting through in several places. We had it replaced, because Nam had to use the car today to go to Ubon (3 hours one way) and translate for her aunt’s fertilizer company. At the same time, we were having power issues and I had noticed slowly dropping battery fluid and corresponding hairline cracks on the battery body after the car came back from repairs for the crash. Not wanting Nam to break down on a long trip, we also replaced the battery. I was pretty sure it was a battery issue, because we’d had the alternator replaced a few weeks ago.
Nam drove the Cefiro up to Ubon with her sister today as planned, but on the way back, they lost almost all electrical power. They struggled back to Ot’s shop, where we bought the battery, and he had an electrical specialist come in to take a look. He took a look and declared it to be a faulty alternator. We’d had it replaced by a solid backyard mechanic named Yon, so we took it to him to start on the claims process with the supplier. By then, it was time to pick up Max, so I got him and picked up Nam at Yon’s garage and took them home in the Crown.
At home, we were readying the house for my mom’s arrival tomorrow. I had to run out and pay some bills that Nam had intended to take care of, but was unable to due to car problems. It was dark by the time I actually left the house, and there was something funny with my car. It was struggling to keep running, and I thought the headlights were quite dim. Oh shit. But the bills needed to be paid, and I needed to head to the other side of town to update our bank book first. So I kept the old Crown running through sheer willpower and curses to that dastardly mongrel in the sky. She got me there. I stopped across from the ATMs, found that the goddamn update machine was out of order, and walked back to the car. It wouldn’t start, and the cranking was real weak. Dead battery. WHAT THE FUCK YOU FUCKING PIECE OF FUCKING SHIT FUCK SHIT FUCK SHIT FUCK. SHIT!
I stand in solitude as I compose this post. My phone’s display burns into the night, and nary a soul will aid in killing the mosquitoes that are biting the hell out of me.
I am waiting for the good mechanic Yon, who was working on my other car when he got the call to come save my ass in this one… I can find no wifi signal to share my loneliness in this foreign land…
Yon has arrived with a spare battery, and now we shall see what further expense motorized transport hath incurred this very day.
Next day: So it seems both of my cars will require new alternators. The Cefiro has a new battery (which is in the Crown now so I can get around today, even though it’s not being charged by the alternator); the Crown probably needs one as well, since the current one has been completely discharged a few times, which isn’t very good for it. The new radiator in the Cefiro seems to be fine. But. I need a car to pick up my mom tonight in Khon Kaen. That goddamn dastardly mongrel in the sky and his impeccable timing…
If Yon can get his hands on a new alternator for the Cefiro, I’ll be really happy. But that depends on a lot of things to be lined up in a short time, like the supplier accepting the claim against the original part, there being a replacement one somewhere very close, and for that dastardly mongrel in the sky to keep out of my shit for the rest of the day… The alternative is to load a spare battery in the Crown and replace it if the one installed gives me grief (headlights run down a battery fairly quickly. I can only say, UNGH.