So, here’s the story of The Big Move.
There have been simpler ones; especially when an employer was paying, and looking after every minute detail. There have been harder ones; like the one that involved a truck rented from Budget, which broke down somewhere near Paris, somewhere around Xmas Day, and took some time to fix, and then broke down in several other places before reaching Geneva. But the end of this story is that everything arrived in Thailand, more or less in the same condition as it left Malaysia.
I took my time with the packing, beginning by throwing out everything I figured I couldn’t possibly ever need again. That was a lot. But stupidly I kept everything I might one day in the rest of my life need again. That was also a lot. Almost sixty boxes worth. And that excluded beds and assorted pieces of furniture. Packing all of that took me two months.
There were challenges. I promised my friends in Thailand, who run an hotel, that they could have my ping-pong table if there was space on the truck. But, I had no idea how I would get it down the stairs. Like all ping-pong tables, it was in two halves. (“As opposed to three halves?” the pedantic amongst you will ask.)
The first half I tried to move in one piece. The wheels went plop-plop, from step to step, each step needing considerable effort to keep the table vertical. By the time it reached the bottom, the frame was quite mangled. It needed kicking and cursing in approximately equal measures, in order to straighten it. For the second half of the table, a Plan B was needed.
Removing the frame and bringing it down in two parts, seemed the obvious solution. The lightweight frame with wheels was no problem. The wood was an entirely different proposition. Damned heavy! Not wanting to scratch the wooden stairs, I thoughtfully placed a small towel on each step. Having hauled the wood into a vertical position, I gingerly angled it downwards, and so began the decent.
The first couple of steps were easy, but then it became stuck on one step that seemed to be deeper than the others. So I had to kind-of jerk it upwards to un-stuck it! You can probably figure what happened next. I lost control of it. The wooden board remained upright, and rapidly accelerated over the nice slippery towels, ending in an almighty crash, followed by a second bang as the board fell flat.
My mind pictured holes in the wall, and a totally destroyed ping-pong table. But somehow damage was minor, the table made the trip, and was delivered to the hotel in the aforementioned two pieces. No doubt it will make someone happier than the person who facilitated its journey.
The evening before moving day a three-ton truck arrived. (Or is that “tonne”? Being a metricophile, I never do know the difference.) And next morning the truck stuffing began. I did no more than offer a few words of encouragement here and there, and after a couple of hours, everything had been carefully stored and protected where needed.
The truck headed to the border overnight while I spent the last night in my home of some fifteen years, with no internet nor TV, staring at a bank wall. A bottle of scotch had to be finished, so it wasn’t too painful.
Getting rid of the internet and satellite TV services was not without a drama or three. They both involved calls to 1-300 numbers, which meant the caller pays a premium – part of which is received by the callee – and the objective seems to be to keep the caller on the line as long as possible. I was frequently put on hold while I listened to some meaningless commercial messages, and while they claimed to be checking something or other. The one to Telekom Malaysia pissed me off because after about ten minutes of this nonsense, the girl calmly said “You can’t terminate the internet service by phone.” Followed by “Is there anything else I can do for you?” The response that went through my mind is not printable.
Anyhoo, the truck duly left overnight and headed for the border. I’d been told everything had been planned in advance, but this seemed to be far from the truth.
Meanwhile, I had an early start, in order to get a flight to Surat Thani and make the 80 minute drive to my friends’ hotel in Sichon, so as to be there before the arrival of the truck. Making my very last visit to LCCT was a real pleasure… NOT! Now that it’s closed, I hope they drop a bomb on the place.
I was a little apprehensive as I was hand-carrying a load of computer equipment, not wanting to trust it to a long road journey. In one regulation-hand-baggage-sized suitcase, I had my Mac Mini, four hard disks, a monitor & keyboard, plus associated
bits and pieces. It was supposed to weigh less than 7kgs, but was probably more like twenty! But I’ve never seen anyone at KLIA weigh hand baggage, and this trip was no exception.
Then I thought, what is this lot going to look like on the x-ray machine? But a somewhat harassed lady just waved me right through. Okay, that’s that. No more worries. But at this point I hadn’t given any thought to what Thai Customs might make of this lot, partly because I’ve never been stopped for an inspection.
However, on this occasion, I also had checked luggage – a squishy bag that I lifted from the conveyor and plopped on top of my case full of disks. As I approached the Thai Customs officer, said squishy bag decided to fall off. I could see this made him suspicious and so he stopped me. As luck would have it, he assumed there was something heavy in the top bag, and gave it lots of prods and a quick weight check and then waved me through. The bag of IT goodies went unopened.
I hadn’t realized at the time that Thai Customs is very sensitive about electrical appliances and IT equipment. Once all my stuff had been moved from a Malaysian truck to a Thai truck, they attempted to cross the border. I’d been careful to list everything accurately, and furniture, clothes, etc., were no problem, but a fridge, TV, and three computer monitors apparently threw-up a red flag. A certain amount of per$ua$ion was needed,
So, I had arrived in plenty of time, and was told delivery would be the next day. What they didn’t tell me until late into the evening, was that they meant 3am. I told them in a wide variety of languages that, NO they were not going to deliver at 3am. We eventually compromised on 6am, and they turned up at 7. And when they did, I wasn’t amused.
As I mentioned, the Malaysian closed truck had been very neatly packed. I was told the Thai truck would be the same. I could have cried when I saw everything had been crudely thrown on an open truck, with a small tarpaulin on top. I also wasn’t too amused to discover I had to be one of the two un-loaders. At 7am I needed coffee, not exercise.
But, miraculously, there was minimal damage, and by 8am I was left with the task of beginning the unpacking. Stay tuned for that.