musings on music, travel, books, and life from Southeast Asia

I got an unexpected phone call at my bookshop last week. It was from a Thai man calling to let me know that he had received a CD for me in the mail. “I have your CD,” he said, “but it was sent to me by mistake.” Apparently he had ordered some vinyl albums from Amazon and when he opened the package he found a smaller package containing a CD tucked inside. Upon further examination he realized that the CD was addressed to someone else … which would be me!

Luckily, this guy was honest and also made a very sincere effort to track me down. The address had the name of my bookshop on it, so he found the telephone number for the shop and called me. He said that he could send the CD to me, but wouldn’t have time to go the post office until the following week. I got his contact information and told him that I’d see if I could make arrangements to pick up the CD myself so that he wouldn’t have to pay for the postage.


Later that night, I called up one of my motorcycle taxi driver friends, Bay, and asked if he could pick up the CD for me. The guy’s office was way out on Vibhavadi-Rangsit Road, not exactly in my neck of the woods, so I gave Bay the guy’s phone number and address. I told Bay that there was no hurry, but I’d make it worth his while if he could pick it up for me as soon as possible.

The following afternoon Bay dropped by my store, holding up the package with a big smile. “Got it!” he exclaimed. “I didn’t know how to go there,” he admitted, “but my father gave me directions. It was no problem.” No problem or not, I tipped him some extra money and thanked him again.


Later that week, I was informed by the company that handles my visa and work permit paperwork that my new annual work permit could not yet be issued because the medical certificate that I submitted was out of date. Huh? I double checked the requirements on the form I had been given and it clearly stated that the medical certificate must be issued within six months. The one I had submitted was from September, less than 3 months old, so that should have been fine. But it wasn’t. Apparently, they work permit office has adopted a new policy of allowing only medical certificates that are 30 days old or less. Urrrgghhh!!!

So that meant getting another medical certificate. I could either go back to Bangkok Hospital, where I got me previous one, or go to a local clinic and get the some certificate for a fraction of the price. Which is what I did. I called up a clinic that I’ve used before and requested a new medical certificate saying that I was healthy, did not have Ebola, or any other life threatening diseases.

I needed to go see the doctor and pick it up but the clinic was a bit out of the way, so I used one of those trusty motorcycle taxi guys again. As luck would have it, it was Bay’s father, also a driver at the same taxi stand, who took me to the clinic on Monday morning. He waited outside while I went in and got my medical certificate, and then drove me the rest of the way to my bookshop. I tipped him extra, handing him 120 baht, but he shook me off, saying that was too much, and handed a 20 baht note back to me. Wow! That’s a great example of how honest most of these guys are, and also how dependable they are.


Really, the motorcycle taxi drivers and messengers are saviors here in Bangkok, not only for helping to get you swiftly from place to place amidst the traffic gridlock, but for making deliveries and running errands of all sorts. I ordered a pizza last night that was delivered by motorcycle, and my work permit was returned to me — finally! — also by motorcycle messenger yesterday. Long may they run!



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