Bangkok


     We returned to Bangkok from Ayuthaya Monday morning as planned only to find a text message on our phone that said the second bike, scheduled to arrive that day, would arrive Tuesday. We really didn't get to far afield of our hotel, hoping instead to remain near Yut's shop so we could stay on top of the second bike's progress. As it turned out the bike didn't arrive until late in the afternoon, and then it was only the frame, motor, and wheels. The seat, gas tank, side covers, and faring parts would trickle in over the next few days. As we had mentioned, these were bikes that had been sitting for the last two years, and each of the two or three times a day that we visited over the next few days we encountered something else that need to be repaired or replaced. Yut made some heroic efforts, but each time he thought it would be ready by the end of the day we would return to find that they were still not satisfied with some small thing or another.
      The fact is that although we were burning through the short duration of Thailand's initial visa, it was reassuring that Yut did not want to let the bikes go until he was confident he was delivering something that would not give us problems. We would find that his best efforts were not enough to make up for the little problems created by sitting idle for two years. Surprisingly, the first bike performed over the next few months almost without incident. Unfortunately the same could not be said for the second bike. At any rate, other than a few excursions to pick up riding gear, or the occasional foray into one of Bangkok's plethora of shopping malls and multipexes, we confined ourselves to pedestrian activities in the area near the hotel and Yut's s shop. We knew that we would be coming back to Bangkok before leaving South East Asia.



       We passed by this temple several times on our way to Bangkok's Chinatown. Yut had sent one of his men with me to point out places in Chinatown that sold webbing that we needed for lashing down saddlebags, and also a place that made and repaired helmets. Helmets are required in Thailand, but they are mostly pretty cheesy. We took both of our Nolan helmets in to have the face shields replaced. The replacement shields in the US cost 35 to 40 dollars apiece. They are not sold here, but this place duplicated them for around eight dollars.
        The Khmer style prang of
Wat Thepthidaram Worawihan were like those we had first seen in Ayuthaya. I remember seeing an explanation of the regional connection for the large ear Buddhist images, but at the moment it escapes me. What does stand out about Bangkok's temples is how immaculately clean the grounds are kept.

Just steps away from Khao San Road's bars and satay stalls, the neighborhood's tiny alleyways host numerous Thai boxing academies. These are no nonsense training places that attract both men and women, as can be seen below.




      While Bangkok's malls have every food chain known to man, as well as massive food courts with upscale cuisine from every corner of the world, the real food values are found on the city's back streets.
        With each day's promise of the second bike being ready by day's end having evaporated, we found it Saturday with the prospects of the bike being finished looking the best that they had so far. When we returned that afternoon around 3:00 we found that Yut was out test riding the bike. When he got back he said he wanted to adjust the steering head bearing. After an adjustment and a second test ride we determined that bearing was shot. With over half of our first 30 day visa period gone, I was not excited about the prospect of waiting. With Yut closed on Sunday, it seemed like the earliest we would get out of Bangkok would be Tuesday--another three days. Yut however found a place that had some more expensive tapered roller bearings that would fit, and he worked late into the evening to make sure we got the bike. After a night's sleep, we were on the road early Sunday morning for Kanchanaburi. Unfortunately it was not the last we would see of Yut.