Yup, we got our bikes! It was an all day exercise in “to and fro” and in trying to keep our cool (Colin managed, I, however, had a lapse). Between 9:00 am, when we arrived at the cargo facility, and the time we finally saw our crate, we made many, many trips back and forth between the Thai Air Cargo building and various Customs offices to collect our documents and then have modifications made to them, pay a variety of fees, and sign papers promising to remove the bikes from Thailand upon threat of heavy fines if we do otherwise, with a whole lot of sitting and waiting for things to happen and papers to be stamped or signed in between. Our fellow riders, whom we met in Kathmandu, spent the day doing the same do-si-do, and we at least were able to spend some time chatting and comparing itineraries while we all waited.
At 3:00 pm, after six hours and a whole lot of steps, we watched them carry our crate out from the warehouse on a forklift. Ours was the last of the bunch to appear, so Brian, Tanja, Stefano, and Annamaria had already pried the sides off their crates and were pulling out a variety of parts when ours was set on the floor. Colin and I got to work and broke down the crate, pulled out all the gear and loose pieces, and set about reassembling the bikes. Everything arrived unscathed (with the exception of one pantleg of one of our riding suits that apparently worked through the skid, caught underneath, and got dragged on something. It's intact, just a little scuffed at the cuff). We have the system down, having been through the process a few times now, but today for some reason, everything I touched went wrong. Every bolt and screw I tried to turn refused to thread, and nothing lined up. It was dark, humid, and noisy in the warehouse, we were trying to hurry in order to get the paperwork signed off before the Customs inspectors went home for the day, and I in turn, lost my temper and got short when one more screw misthreaded. Not my finest performance. It's a good thing Colin is patient or I would have been left on the roadside next to the Bangkok Airport. We eventually managed to get the bikes put back together, and boy, it felt good to get out of there. After one final stop at the Customs exit, we were free! And we had our wheels back! We rode straight to the gas station to refill our nearly empty tanks and then headed back to the hotel. For dinner, we enjoyed a celebratory bowl of soup at the night market and a Chang beer later.
just try and get that awful song out of your heads!