Friday, 10 April 2015

Erections in the Far East: Chapter Five - THAILAND

Book Title: Erections in the Far East
Genre: Travel
Author: David Rowley

…The first job was frustrating in that I’d arrive at site and invariably there were tower parts and bolts
missing, or incorrect member sizes. The towers were supplied by a large Thai steel producer and we were well down the pecking order, merely building the towers for a smaller company. There was no interface with the steel conglomerate and when any problems arose our line of communication was with a middleman, who in turn would report to a larger company above, and so on. It was a long game of cat and mouse by the time we eventually received a complete tower. If we could have directly contacted the fabricator then it might have sped up the whole process, but we were only small fry. The main supplier gave out no contact details whatsoever, they’d probably had enough grief and criticism on previous jobs to know that hiding away was best. I wouldn’t have minded if the deadline hadn’t been so tight but we were supposed to perform miracles by building towers with parts missing. Looking back we should have just roped the whole lot together and inserted bamboo wherever parts were missing, and left them with it.

To tempt me to go to Thailand Dave B had informed me that he’d found the ideal driver who could also assist me at site. Apparently the chap had been a construction foreman before and had enough English to get by. Dave B, and his new partner Clive, as if by magic, had come across him one evening in his taxi. He’d impressed them no end. They must have been on some wicked stuff that night. Panachai was introduced to me and off we set in an old pick-up truck. He seemed to know his way around which was a good start, but whenever we discovered a problem at site he’d holler “Ho Ho Ho.” If I asked him to explain to the foreman that he must continue to build the tower and to use some temporary pieces meantime, then his response would be the familiar “Ho Ho Ho.” Eventually I’d get the message across but it was hard going. I always asked him to quiz the foreman if perhaps he’d been informed by the truck driver as to when the supplier might send the missing parts. Invariably he’d delve into a long winded conversation and appear to forget what the initial request had been. The feedback would be something totally unrelated, such as the foreman was recently divorced, or that he needed some cream for his athlete’s foot, anything not to do with work…

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