Monday, 5 October 2009

Buying a Honda Phantom

Drunken bum

Two Wednesdays ago I sat in Russel's garden, with Monkey and Mike until 0630 the next morning. I courageously assisted them in depleting Russel's remaining wine and vodka stocks. I ended up comatose on his sofa and needless to say I never made it to work the next day since my alarm went off 5 minutes after I'd passed out!!! Pat decided that I'm a worthless bum with no self-control. What I regarded as the selfless provision of a helpful service to a friend in need, Pat regarded as profligate! Tsschh......women! She went off to Hat Yai to see some friends. She escaped me and my drunken friends, and simultaneously, punished me in the age-old, tried and tested, female favourite: BAD LAD = NO HUMPTY DUMPTY.

Since that night I haven't been drunk. I've even quit smoking for an impressive 8 days. Time to turn over a new leaf me thinks.


Unfortunately I'm a bit too young to retire but these 18 teachers from my school aren't. Last week I went to a retirement do in Trang's poshest hotel. As with most things in Thailand this was highly ceremonial occasion. Here are the retirees receiving best wishes from the 'younger' staff. This process involves the well-wishers dipping their hands into a bowl of water and touching the retirees hands while mumbling a few words of praise. This took quite a while since there are over 100 teachers here!

The food was delicious. Here's Eric, Pat and Ian wiring into some sumptuous Thai fare. To think I nearly went to this party in flip-flops! Thanks Pat for talking me out of that one - it would've been hugely embarrassing.

These are typical Thai desserts. Sickly sweet and mixed with some shaved ice from the bowl in the center. AAAaaaaaah, that's why you see so many toothless adults here.

Traditional dancers were hired to perform for the masses. Look at these outfits man - more gold than Fort Knox.

Here they are demonstrating how to ensure you'll suffer lower back pain for your remaining days. It's a shame these pictures can't convey sound information. Remember those simple telephone systems made with two yogurt cartons and a piece of string? Imagine listening to the music from Magic Roundabout through one of those. That's what you would hear as you looked at these dancers.


Recession? What recession? I've spent the last few weeks looking at motorbikes. I was considering this Honda Goldwing but at 1,000,000baht (£20,000) I decided something lower key was in order................

And here it is. My new bike. A 3 year old silver Honda Phantom. This Thai-made bike has a 200cc, 4 stroke, single cylinder engine. It's a cruiser - perfect for touring around Thailand in comfort. I've had it three days now and I love it. I've already done 1000km on it making 4500km in total. It cost 57,000baht from an American lad in Nakkon Si Thammarat. It's almost brand-new given that it's hardly been out anywhere. These bikes cost 88,000baht new. The extras: back rest, saddle bags, screen, crash bars and passenger foot panels would add an extra 10-12,000bt. So, I have an almost new, low-mileage bike for just over half of the new price! Not bad.

How to buy a Honda Phantom cruiser:

1. Work for 6 months as a Maths Teacher in Thailand earning 30,000bt/month
2. Save 10,000bt/month for 6 months = 60,000bt.
3. Spend time searching for low mileage good condition bikes.
4. Spot one 2 hours drive away on offer at 60,000bt.
5. Negotiate a 5% (3,000bt) discount.
6. Travel 2 hrs on the back of your mate's uncomfortable sporty CBR 150cc to view.
7. Fall in love with the bike and hand over the 57,000bt immediately.
8. Cruise 2hrs home through the mountains in comfort with a big stupid grin on your face.
9. Buy a new denim jacket and a stupid powder-blue coloured helmet.
10. Indulge yourself by spending an exhilarating weekend riding 1000km through the beautiful Thai countryside in glorious sunshine.

This bike is not really a 'rice-rocket' - more of a pleasure cruiser. Although it does accelerate swiftly enough you'll never beat a Ducati. I've had 135kmh (85mph) out of it which is fast enough for me. What this bike does do is cruise and it does it in luxurious comfort.

I was tempted with a faster, more nimble Honda CBR 150. However after some seating trials I decided on the Phantom. Sitting on a CBR feels like you are trying to make love to an ironing board. Conversely, sitting on a Phantom feels like you are leaning back in a jacuzzi with two beautiful naked woman massaging you everywhere. Who cares if it takes me 10mins longer to get there?

Paul and I went for a pleasure ride the next day and stopped at his mate's place in Wang Wiset for a bite to eat. I went to the toilet via this bedroom where some ornithologist likes to hang his porn from the ceiling!

Here we are outside the restaurant. Notice my formidable leather safety boots. That's one reason I love Thailand. I've just bought a chunky bike and I don't even have a license. Thailand is definitely not a nanny state like the UK. Nobody gives a shit out here - LOVE IT.

Stopping for a pee in a rubber farm. Doesn't my bike look mint?

Ole took it for a spin and offered to buy it there and then for 67,000bt - I said NO WAY.

Here's Ole's white yacht captured nicely beneath this rainbow.

What better way to end an excellent day's cruising than a few beers in a jungle karaoke/whore house? Unbelievably the patrons in this dump wanted more than BKK prices for a beer?? I only had 4 bottles since I had to drive 40km home!

The title of this blog is inspired from my young days as a Royal Navy apprentice. The Petty Officers used to get me (and other Geordies with broad accents) to repeatedly shout 'Motorbikes and razor blades'. They would laugh at the way we pronounced the vowels, particularly the O's and A's before ending our humiliation. Hehe - good days.



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