May 23, 2006 - Tuesday
Around Buri Ram, TH

Street sweepers - a person, broom and catch pan in hand, moves down the gutter area of a street and sweeps up junk - swifting it into the pan. I've seen'm in town and once on a bit of a rural section (that still had a curb).


A free day. What to do on a free day - sleep in might be a bit nice! Not too late though and at 8:30 am I was up.  Figure out the shower - it has an "instant" hot water heater on the wall much like at Felipe's place - except this one wasn't putting out hot water. No lights. Hmmmm - I was going to ask the front desk if they could look at it (maybe a circuit was turned off) when I noticed the on/off switch on top. Ahhhh, a decent shower. Out of the room I went to the front desk to ask if they knew of anyplace for "Internet, e-mail". They do! and it's in a different location than the "other" place. It's close and I find it easy enough - but another dead end. No connecting laptops to the system. When I pulled out the flash memory key and showed it to the guy - pointing to the computer it simply brought another emphatic NO. Both times he pointed in the direction of the "other" place. Another dead end.

Since the train station was around the corner I figured a stop by there would be good. A plus is that it was filled with people - perhaps a train is soon to arrive? I went into the ticket counter and checked the schedules. Not more than 15 minutes or so for the next train (there were perhaps 16 trains listed - busy place - passenger trains get used here).

They had perhaps 80 people waiting about. Nearing the arrival time a station person started to cart out cargo and place it on the platform. The security guy, MP3 player and headphones in use, was walking about keeping an eye on the goings on - of which I was a curiosity. With a smile he struck up a short conversation with me - asking if I was from CNN (that's a new one). I said no - just me - and then handed him a card and said "Internet" - pointing from camera to card. He seemed to get it - replying Internet and wanting to keep the card. Perhaps the MP3 player he had would be a tip-off that he uses a computer - possibly connected to the Internet.

Train in and gone I was able to get some decent photos. More "self powered" cars. I think this set had two of them - one near each end - but not at the ends.

Leaving the station I headed back to the hotel to get the bike and do some riding before the afternoon showers come in. It seems that right about 3 pm the showers start and last about 30 to 40 minutes. The day is decent before and after that spot. Things dry out reasonably well after the rains.

Since last evening I went to the west northwest - and I originally came into Buri Ram from the southwest and would be departing to the northeast so I wanted to visit some of the east and maybe southeast. Mostly accomplished I started by taking a highway northeast for maybe 30 minutes. From there I just picked a side road and turned right. No map outside of the GPS and the tracklog on its screen. I wound left, right, straight, wherever. The roads went from asphalt, gravel, brick, dirt, cement and back again.

The countryside was much the same through it all - small villages about 10 minutes apart. Trees were fairly common. I don't know what the crop is - rice? but it seemed like some farmers were getting ready to plant as they were out working the soil. Some farmers were out tending livestock.

Getting back to Buri Ram I gave a chance that the parts might be in and drove by the dealership. I stayed on the bike, in the street, and the worker for my job noticed me right away. He put on a big smile and held up a plastic bag motioning for me to come on up. Cool - the parts are in! He put the bike up on a rack and started to work on it - leaving the job he had been working on. I tapped him on the shoulder and motioned for him to complete the scooter first. 'twas nice that he was willing to jump at my job though.

The Honda folks were as welcoming as the last time I was there. I had some water with me but they still offered coffee. Some of the folks came over to look at the laptop. Google Earth to show where "home" is and the web browser to run through some photos of this trip.

Job done we took some photos - I had also taken some while the process was going on. The worker took the bike for a spin around the block - something they did to each bike when they finished working on it. He probably doesn't get much of a chance to ride anything larger than a 150 cc unit (though many of the bikes here are two stroke and I'm sure some might well have a better power to weight ratio than this bike. "Hopped up" bikes [more than just bling] are somewhat common).

Parking the bike at the hotel I did some walking. A sucker for carbs - errr bakery - I purchased some sweets at one stop. Still strolling - with some of the streets being on an angle - I started to think about how I would find my way back. No GPS rolling with me. Hmmm - then I noticed the communications tower that is across the street from the hotel. A handy landmark to use (when I could see it).

The town has a decent selection of stuff - some in the process of being made and some being purchased goods on display for sale. Soccer balls, backpacks, coloring books, drug store items, lawnmowers, hydraulic pumps, oxy-acetylene gas tubing, sacks of stuff (farm goods?), a store for lubricants (with the standard S.A.E. labels). Many items - particularly "home" cooked food items - are packaged in clear plastic bags. The bags are twisted and tied shut such that air is trapped in the bag - blowing it firm like a balloon. With it makes for a nice presentation.

Making it back to the hotel I wanted to finish the night off with a trip to the grocery store (look for some granola bars), head over to their "night market" (lots of food - the only item I recognized was an ear of corn), and to the pizza spot for some dinner (not being adventurous for the night market foods - though I'm sure it would be less expensive than the "western" pizza joint).

The Pizza Company - reasonable pizza. I stopped in last evening and ordered a Hawaiian, pan, medium (there was no personal or small). Medium is about 12" in diameter. Well, I stopped in again tonight - figuring I'd eat half now and half in the morning (the hotel has a fridge). The kid taking the order seemed to falter just a bit at the order stage - and now I know why. I ordered "classic Italian" and they came up with Hawaiian. No biggie. Eating half I brought the other half up motioning to have it wrapped to go. At the bike I had the pizza bag hanging from the left handlebar when I noticed a guy heading towards me. He recognized me and I remembered him from earlier in the day - I had the impression then he was a street person (I was carrying food then too - bakery goods). As he neared he pointed to his mouth. I gave him the pizza bag and he pulled out the pizza box and handed the bag back. He continued walking the way he was headed. Never said or acknowledged anything. I hope he likes Hawaiian.

I should keep photos of some things in the camera. I was walking about a grocery store today in search of some granola. If I had a photo of a box of granola (Nature Valley - Green box) that might make the search easier - something to show one of the store workers.

A utility / stuff hauling side car.

Standing at the Buri Ram train station - looking across the square, at the clock, communications tower. The hotel is the blue sign standing up on the left.

Switch tower

Control cables.

Broom sales lady - walking about to sell some brooms - probably made by her.

Here comes the train!

With a note to be passed....

And it wasn't until I edited the photo - the same "carted out" packages are still on the platform. There must be a freight train coming.

At the fuel station filling up. The Yamaha guy stopped over to look at the "odd" Honda bike with the camera and GPS. Thumbs up from him!

Utility towers - small and large

Roadway improvement - gravel to brick

School kids getting out.

A country corner - not much about - but someone put this up. I think it's a shrine.

A nice water plant. I'm wondering if the "ready to drink" water is stored in the tall tower. The tank in the ground might be a settling / treatment tank for the water pumped from the ground or pumped from the holding pond (next pic).

Water level - not sure if it's full or empty - I'd guess full.

Under construction.

The versatile tractor. An engine sitting on a frame that had a transmission, control bars, wheels. The wheels will either be these air filled rubber tires or the metal "paddle" wheels. If the metal wheels are installed old tires will be slipped on for use on the roadway.

Irrigation / drainage project

And I'd guess this is the sign saying the project is funded by the taxes and cost 30,989 Baht.

So I stopped for some pictures. Here's the spot.

This guy was sitting under the shade tree watching two cattle.

At the rail road crossing I noticed these two guys. One on the ground and the other on top installing the flags. The orange shirt guy would take a flag, fold it up, and toss it up. The flag would unfold and not make it all of the way up. He would then find something solid, wrap it in the flag and toss the ball up - with the solid object flying up and the flag unraveling and not making it. After a few tosses the top guy was able to grab it and set it on display.

Two cables running from the station to the semaphore down the line.

Detail of the crossing gate. The cables that cross the road power lights. The assembly is insulated to carry the power to the lights. Seems a bit complex to me.

MPG, 2.54 MB, 37 sec

There it goes! See the semaphore way down there....

...and the station way down there. The control cables go all the way in between.
Hmmm - as I type this - perhaps the cables control both the semaphore and the switch?

Need to carry more than the standard motorbike will allow - pull a hand cart! Just sit on the handle.

Outside "gyms" are common.

A smaller, more common water tower.

Street sweeper in action.

Bike getting ready for new final drive components

Mr. Sman at the ready!

Think it needed replacement?

It'll only look nice and new for a few miles.

One of the plentiful dogs about - stop by the plant for some water.

And the 3 pm rain shower. Before this started Mr. Sman headed out with the master link. The side plate would not readily slip onto the pins (afterthought: I think it was made to be an interference fit where pliers should be used to press it onto the pins before being clipped). While he was out to find a shop to enlarge the holes in the plate I did some shots of the people moving by in the rain.

Hands over eyes.

Throttle in right hand - hold umbrella with left. Front edge of umbrella will fold in as speed increases.

They didn't mind the rain much - smiles.

Crouch down...

Hand over eyes.

Back with the final piece!

Yea, use the homework assignment to cover your hair.

There ya go - honest to goodness re-usable, re-cycleable GLASS BOTTLES.

How long has it been that these were common in the U.S.A.??

Mr. Sman - old parts in hand!

Service guys

Mr. Prayad Nakatorn. I think he is sales. He kindly spent some time with me. Good times.

I'm ready to roll!

Ford dealership

Pepsi and Coke signs are common.

Looking down a sidewalk. The ramps are to get the car / bike up into the shop / home / garage.

Night market.

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