Pretty normal day – I finish teaching online, I start doing some blog work, I eat lunch, I get ready to go. Antonia and I are driving down to Doi Inthanon. The real fun isn’t supposed to happen until tomorrow. Antonia decided to splurge on a really nice room at the base of Doi Inthanon. This way we can wake up at 3:30am instead of 2:00am – ain’t she sweet.
We rent our bike and start driving…a little later than planned; about an hour later. I’m feeling that little extra push that comes from time pressure. It’s about a 1.5 hour drive to this place and we’d like to enjoy a bit of time there, it wasn’t necessarily cheap. The drive there is actually pretty boring, especially after you’ve done it several times before. It’s one street (108) all the way down. You’re going through a few small towns, you see some temples off the side of the road, you’re going around buses and trucks and songthaews, there’s gas stations every 5km.
Eventually it opens up and away we go! I pull on the throttle a bit more than normal and hit 90km/h. The air blowing through your helmet is loud, so loud you can’t even hear your passenger singing at the top of her lungs directly behind your head. The air pressure is felt around the body as your jacket looks vacuum sealed against your arms and chest. I’m trying to make up that lost time and it feels like Antonia is shifting side-to-side, which is swaying the bike side-to-side. “Yo! Quit it back there!” is the first thought that registers, but pretty soon I realize that is not what’s happening. I gradually pull in the brakes and it’s obvious we have ourselves a flat tire!
“Phew! We’re both alright. Thank goodness…but what now?”
As we’re both standing there cluelessly looking back-and-forth between our bike and the sky, this lovely older Thai couple comes over to us on their motorbike after seeing what happened. They speak zero English, but try to tell us where we can go. They point and say some sentences in Thai, we shrug our shoulders and point and speak English sentences, they point again more emphatically and say Thai sentences more loudly, we point across the street and speak more English sentences, they nod their heads while pointing and speaking some more. There is nothing where they are pointing, but I assume there’s going to be a gas station pretty soon on that side of the road, so I thank them and we cross the street…with no real clue how far we’re gonna be walking.
We get to the other side and straight off there’s a Thai woman tending her shop. She gets up instantly as she comprehends our dilemma. Her eyes get a bit bigger, a bit wider and she yells across to this Thai guy something about us. He kind of grunts and looks at us as if we should follow. Just a few meters away he points down a dirt road and ushers us down it. Again we shrug our shoulders and continue following the pointing. A few meters further in, around the corner of a house, we see them – 4 guys sitting around with big smiles enjoying each others company. Oh, and they’re doing this whilst in a garage filled with other motorbikes and tools 🙂 The relief is real. “Oh my god. There’s a shop right here. We barely had to walk anywhere. That’s amazing.”
Instantly, one guy stands up and tells me to bring it in. Two of the guys start fixing it and we have a seat. These guys could not be friendlier. They offer Antonia a seat on the bench, when she refuses they find a stand-alone chair to offer her. They have a communal water cooler and offer us water. Although their English is not enough to have a conversation they try to ask where we are driving from. They guess we are going to Doi Inthanon. They are all smiles and good intent. I show them a picture of the rental place and ask for a receipt. As soon as they realize what I’m trying to do they show me the busted tire tube, the packaging of the new tube, and get me a receipt. Wanna know how much they charged? An insanely cheap 200TBH – $6usd!!
With a fixed tire, we were back on our way only 30minutes later than before. That certainly could not have ended any better than it did <3
Soooooooooo THANKFUL!!! So many ways this could’ve ended worse, so so many.
- Obviously we stayed stable and did not fall sideways going 90km/h 😀
- It could have happened much later, maybe when we were on the steep road driving up Doi Inthanon ORRRR even worse – imagine a flat tire going around a turn on the way down that steep road…shhhhhitza!
- Local people were there instantly pointing us to a hidden mechanic shop 😀
Two times lucky – just by chance an older Thai couple were waiting to make a turn across our lane and saw everything as it happened. Then crossing the street we garnered additional assistance.
- The mechanic shop is open!!! In a small place, middle of nowhere section of road, at 5:30pm? ANNNNDDDDD they take us right away. That is awesome!! 😀
- The shop had us ready to go in under 30 minutes and only charged 200THB ($6)!! That is crazy 😀
- And those 200THB got reimbursed after we returned the bike 😀