Thai Thoughts And Anecdotes Part 94
It started out with Noi and I speed walking through the atmosphere at 3000 feet and only 400 miles per hour. For this delta wing rocket that is practically stall speed–falling like a rock speed; but I wanted to show the Bering Strait in winter to Noi as we passed over. The horizon to horizon panoply of iceberg and open water greens and blues and white and silvery glints was lovely. For Noi who has never seen ice and snow or icepack or icebergs or frozen water it was a goggle-eyed experience. Visual exotica and novelty and fun not accessible in Roi Et. For me the experience was more contemplative. It reminded me of when I was flying for the Arctic Circle division of Air America in the 60's training Eskimos to be paratroopers and crossbow assassins in the jungles of Vietnam. Ah memories . . . !Anyway, as soon as the brown of the eastern shore of the Siberian landmass loomed up I pulled the yoke into Noi's breasts and we topped out at about 60,000 feet. This puppy is just as happy and faster at 80,000 feet but I guess it is just a psychological comfort level thing. A little like playing Craps with $100 chips when logic says that with your historical winning percentages you should be playing with $500 chips. But you are playing with $100 chips because that is where your comfort level is at. It is hard to escape our humanness. My cruising range comfort level is around 60,000 feet. I think once I get up into the weightless periphery of the atmosphere and subspace I feel as if it demands an evolutionary commitment and intelligence from me that maybe I don't have.
Anyway, Noi and I were on our way to a remote site in Russia controlled by a private oil baron whose hobby was collecting British Harrier jump jets. You know, those military jet planes that can take off and land vertically. The plane Noi and I have now is great for world traveling at high speed but once in Thailand it is a little like riding a stallion to the end of the driveway to open the gate. Too much speed. Too much of everything. To fly from Pattaya to Phuket or from Pattaya to BKK or from Pattaya to Chiang Rai or from Pattaya to Rangoon something simpler is needed. Something that can be used as an inter-country or inter-local-Asia commuter. The vertical take off and landing capabilities of the Harrier are ideal. If purchased it would be based on the roof of the Marriott hotel on 2nd Road in South Pattaya and serviced by high-heeled, long-nailed katoeys that I have been putting through aircraft maintenance school. Aging katoeys need a fall back career and participating in the philanthropy of education in Thailand makes me feel good about myself.
When questioning the seller over the phone he said all of the right aviation enthusiastic things about why he collected the planes but I do not believe anything he said. I think he likes the British designed Harriers because they have the Soviet style crude and mean look. They look as if they were assembled out of scrapyard material by mafia thugs as part of some criminal enterprise. Planes for guys with broken teeth and big necks and sausage sized fingers and absolutely no subtlety. Russians peasants dressed up in suits and ties. Planes for killing if not through sophisticated weapons systems then by ramming and smashing and crashing into things with the plane itself. If Noi and I buy this plane we will have to do something to soften it's appearance. Basically for us it is just going to be a big family fun gravity defying tuk-tuk.
The Harrier was originally a one pilot killing machine with no room in the cockpit for a pack of gum or a second thought. Certainly no room for Noi to make trips with me by sitting on my lap. But this Russian of mystery and ruples deep in the Korwak mountains has reconfigured one of the planes to have two seats. By eliminating the weight of armor and armament he was able to add a second seat with extended canopy. Using oil well maintenance employees he has rebuilt a plane that will land and take-off vertically and has room for Noi and I. Perfect. Now short inter-Thailand trips will be more practical. From the roof of the Marriott hotel in South Pattaya to the side of Noi's house in Roi Et–travel time 42 minutes. Practical. South Pattaya to Patong Beach–travel time 40 minutes. Etc. By the time I have told Noi for the third time not to touch anything we will usually be wherever we were going in Thailand. "Don't Touch Anything" three times plus "Stop Yelling Into The Headset" should get us to Patong Beach. "Don't Touch Anything" three times plus "Stop Yelling Into The Headset" plus "Stop Taking Off Your Flight Suit" in this subsonic plane should equal Rangoon. "Don't Touch Anything" three times plus "Stop Yelling Into The Headset" plus "Stop Taking Off Your Flight Suit" plus "Stop Throwing Your Teddy Bear Against The Canopy"–well, you get the picture. In fact for all of you that might be considering doing something like this I have made up a Farang Pilot Warning to Bargirl Passenger (FPWBP) chart that translates into sample distances and destinations. In other words: the time it takes to make the warnings to your bargirl passenger times your speed will equal your distance/destination (Warnings X Speed=Destination).
1. WARNING: "Don't Touch Anything" (three times)
DESTINATION: Bangkok, Petchaburi, Hua Hin, and Ayuthya.
2. WARNING: "Don't Touch Anything" (three times) plus "Stop Yelling Into The Headset"
DESTINATION: Patong Beach (landing on the beach scares the shit out of the Japanese tourists), Roi Et ( land next to Noi's mother's house–major FACE ), Sangkhla Buri, and Chiang Mai.
3. WARNING: "Don't Touch Anything" (three times) plus "Stop Yelling Into The Headset" plus "Stop Taking Off Your Flight Suit"
DESTINATION: Mae Sai ( 53 minutes–only 2 minutes 26 seconds in our other plane but there is no place to land–you have to be practical ), Rangoon, Phnom Penh, and Viangchan.
4. WARNING: "Don't Touch Anything" (three times) plus "Stop Yelling Into The Headset" plus "Stop Taking Off Your Flight Suit" plus "Stop Throwing Your Teddy Bear Against The Canopy"
DESTINATION: Hanoi, Kuala Lumpur, Sarawak and Bali.
Of course this Bargirl Warning Trip Distance Esimator (BWTDE) is only a guide. Some farang pilots I have talked to feel that a few exasperated "Shutup You Bitch" and insincere "Yes Honey" comments are going to be requirements. I'm not sure. Let's try and be professional about this gentlemen. I am currently trying to get the International Pilots Association and the FAA in the States to approve and endorse this Bargirl Warning Trip Distance Estimator (BWTDE) so a little decorum is probably in order. Of course your Bargirl Warning Trip Distance Estimator comments and distances may differ. And of course it is all right to yell when doing this (issuing warnings en flight) if you want; it is all part of the equation–your bargirl passenger won't mind, she'll just think you are her father or her mamasan or her boyfriend.
Anyway, as you have probably already guessed: we bought the plane. Noi wanted me to teach her to fly. She can not operate anything in civilian life that has moving parts: can opener, village well hand pump, Nana Hotel window drapes, mulberry bark umbrella with sliding toggle, etc. So I said "No". "No honey, I can not teach you to fly". To appease her I said she could choose the color and the name of the new plane. I had the plane delivered to the roof of the Marriott Hotel on 2nd Road in South Pattaya and turned it over to my crack katoey maintenance crew. Then I had to fly back to the States to do some consulting work for an organization called M.B.S.B.W.W. (Men Being Screwed By Western Women).
Even though I had given Noi carte blanche in the 'plane naming' and 'plane color choice' departments before leaving for the States, I took the precaution of providing her with some sample colors and some sample names that hopefully would help her make a good decision and keep her on the right track.
From the hardware store I got some paint chip color samples: gun metal grey, lead grey, ash grey, slate grey, blue grey, flat black, chalk black, pitch black, ink black, coral black, coal black, grey black, blue-grey, blue-black, forest green, grey green, blue green, black green, silver green, olive green and of course silver, and silver grey and silver black. Heads you win; Tails you win. I didn't really care which color she chose; any one would be ok and she would have had the ego building experience of feeling empowered with choice. I'm smart that way. As a lifetime salesman I am good at manipulating people. I always get my way. No matter which color sample she chose it didn't matter. When I returned to Pattaya and took the elevator and then the stairs to the roof of the Marriott Hotel I knew that the plane would be resplendent and painted appropriately.
Similarly in the naming department I took some pains to prime the pump. I left a list of names behind to help her–Killer, Marauder, Kicker, Stabber, Pouncer, Deathwish, DanaTime, Stomper, Apocalypse, Fearsome Farang, Soi Dog and Bargirl Bonker. Again, it really didn't matter that much to me which name she chose–they were all appropriate for a former military killing machine. Heads I win, and Tails I win–I'm smart that way.
When I returned to South Pattaya I was stunned to find that my ex-military Harrier jump jet killing machine had been painted hot lacquer pink with gold and silver glitter on the nosecone and the name under the canopy was Cute Little Teddy Bear. Ok, I know what question you are dying to ask me; and the answer is– "Yes, yes; the sex is that good."
So if you are making the 14 hour sleeper train trip from BKK to Chiang Mai one night and you see a pink jet named Cute Little Teddy Bear go blistering by–that's us; Noi and I. Pattaya to the Night Market–43 minutes (or me telling Noi three times to "Not Touch Anything" plus "Stop Yelling Into The Head Set"). See Ya There.
No more katoey stories, or stepladders?