Day16 Bangkok, Thailand

11:59 pm Motorbike/Motorcycle, Thailand, Travel
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Distance Travelled 49.5km local travel only


It is amazing what one can do with a nice hotel room in a few minutes.  Rebecca washed some of our clothes, and we had them strung out across the room to dry overnight.


I headed out early in the morning to go to one of the BMW dealers to try and get some CO2 cartridges to use in case I get a puncture.  However, they didn’t have any.  They did, however, have a few police bikes there – apparently they are used extensively to protect the king and the top defense personnel.


After I returned, we packed and tried to get to the SDA Language School before it closes – but we were running late, so I had already given up getting there on time.  One of the trials of riding a big bike in Bangkok is that you aren’t allowed to use the intersection overpasses or expressways.  There are always some bikes trying their luck, and as we were running late, I tried to do the same.  However, on the other side of the only overpass that we had to cross that morning was a policeman pulling all violators over.  In Thailand it seems that bikes can get away with breaking virtually any road rule, but the overpasses are special – this rule is enforced.  So I claimed ignorance.  The police officer was biding his time, hoping that I would bribe him in return for a speedy release (and 1/2 price of the fine). However, he didn’t speak English, and I decided to see what would happen.  I am here to experience Thailand, after all.  So after about 10 minutes a tourist police woman turns up, but she didn’t seem to be any help either.  So I was given a fine, but because I was a foreigner, I was not given my license back.  I was escorted to the police station to pay the 400 baht fine (US$12).  Once we got to the police station, I was taken to the ‘fines clerk’ and waited in a long queue.  After waiting for a about 10 minutes, a lady came up to me in civilian clothes and asked if I had any questions.  It turns out that she was a translator, and another policeman came over also.  So I asked her how I was supposed to know that I am not allowed to cross the overpasses.  She translated, and I was told that there is a sign.  This is actually true, I had learnt to spot them on a previous trip to Bangkok.  However, they are very, very small, and they are positioned AFTER the start of the overpass – by the time you get to the sign, you can’t actually get off the overpass.  Anyway, I continued to claim ignorance, and so I said that if it was illegal, why do so many bikes use them?  She smirked and said that they all get tickets – always.  So I told her that I don’t want to argue, but that if everyone always got a ticket, they wouldn’t do it.  She laughed and we ended our conversation.  Once the queue cleared, I went to the payment window and handed over a 500 baht note.  However, he wanted the ticket, which I didn’t have on me.  So he went looking for the police officer who booked me, but couldn’t find him – he was outside admiring my bike with some other police officers.  Rebecca tells me that the officer looked quite proud having brought in such a big fish.  I signed a couple of documents, but as the fine clerk couldn’t find the police officer, he asked me if I was a tourist.  I said yes.  He then handed me back my money along with my license, and told me I could go.  It was just too hard to sort out the paperwork without the ticket so I was free to go.  When I got back to the bike, the police officer that booked me was still standing by my bike (opposite side of the road in the picture).


We had lunch, and then proceeded to Max and Jenelle Dowling’s place for the weekend.  They have a lovely place right in the heart of Bangkok.  These photos were taken from their balcony.


We went out for dinner together, and I learnt that you don’t give Max a camera, because he thinks that he is the best subject for a photo – which is probably true from Jenelle’s point of view, so I think that he has developed a false sense of reality.


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