My missus is amazing. No doubt. Of her talents her never-ending desire to cook me amazing dinners (separate post with pictures required) is one of my favourites.
She is currently sporting a bump for the four months of pregnancy thus far and, though she gets plenty of rest, she still charges around like a maniac and insists on cooking said amazing dinners.
Sunday, as is often the case, truly was the day of rest and I went foraging for my dinner. We headed out to the car with the little fella en tow – he’s an easy sleeper during car drives – and took the five minute or so journey to the market.
Upon arriving and finding a decent parking space, I dashed out and ordered myself two lots of khao mun gai, not my favourite but is safe given the number of times other, more exotic, dishes have proved to be let downs when returned home to consume.
Dinner purchased, locals mildly impressed with this farang’s Thai...we’re all set to go back – via the longer route, of course, so the little man can doze off to his favourite English nursery rhyme CD. Reversing out is always tricky at markets in the darkness of evening, people walk back ignorant of cars, bikes plod along in their own world and motorcyclists weave between gaps in a hurry.
So, minding the pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists I backed out. Given I had a precious parking space it wasn’t a surprise to see a pickup flash to let me out, so off I went...then suddenly...bang...shit...did I just kill someone.
I moved the car forward before jumping out to see what I’d done – ten years as a driver, my first accident awaiting me.
Seems the guy flashing me out was actually flashing me to say I couldn’t come out. A flash of the lights in Thailand is more a warning than invitation to go...though in this situation it was usually the opposite.
He looked pissed, very pissed, so immediately I apologised, politely calling him P’ and also giving a wai, the respectful greeting in Thai.
“You didn’t look, did you?” was his response...
“I’m sorry,” I repeated, “I looked you flashed...then...”
“Buffalo,” he shouted as a crowd of onlookers grew watching this farang who’d just crashed his car.
Now that is not a respectful way to talk to anyone in Thai. At this point I was pretty angry – with myself for crashing, it was clearly my fault and with him for the insult, petty though it may be – but I managed to stay calm and told him I’d already apologised, but he wasn’t listening.
“Look what you’ve done,” he said, insinuating that I’d decided to crash into his pickup on purpose. “Look!” he shouted.
On inspection, the ‘damage’ was little more than a one inch paint scratch and a little abrasive damage to the wheel hub area.
“It isn’t much,” I told him, beginning to think he was taking me for a ride.
“Yes it is,” he repeated, “why did you do this?”
By now he was snarling at me but I managed to stay cool. Just nipping out to the market I’d left my phone, as had the missus – who had got out of the car and was coming over to see.
I gave him my number and told him to call me tomorrow, but the missus – who was getting angry after him insult me – wanted this sorted out. With no phone and little fella with us, I jumped on a motorcycle taxi and headed out to get my father-in-law, who just happens to be a local police chief and a definite fixer of situations like this.
Cutting a potentially very long story shorter...I came back with FiL who told the guy, in no uncertain terms, they were going to get the car fixed now. The guy was talking a lot, I could understand most of it, he was saying the damage would require extensive work and would need a lot of money.
FiL, on the other hand, was arguing that repairing the wheel-hub part would be fine, and his grand plans were unnecessary. It got a little heated in parts with other people and a market security guard in attendance agreeing with FiL. The argument was that this should be settled now, at a garage, with us paying the full cost of repair – more than fair I thought.
The guy looked very angry but FiL made perfect sense and, as a more senior and respected man, the guy had little choice but to go along with it. The missus and I took the little fella home in FiL car while he went on in my car with the other guy to get his car fixed.
After waiting a while, FiL got back, I somewhat nervously asked how much it came to and was happy to hear 2,500 baht was the answer.
All-in-all I managed to escape my first accident without breaking the bank or writing off a car (as my brother did as a teenager). Though as Khao Mun Gai goes, a 2,500 surcharge on 50 Baht of food isn’t all that great – but I can live with it.
The accident was my fault, despite his flash, but the guy’s attitude really bothered all of us – particularly my mother-in-law who said she wanted to go over there and bash him up.
The guy is in his forties, was with his wife and kid, but yet he completely lost it with me being aggressive towards me, and apparently the missus while I was gone, insulting me and generally being a tosser.
This is just another example of how fortunate I am to have such great in-laws and a master-fixer of things for a FiL.