Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bag Repair And The Advantage Of Begging In The Thai Language

There are some distinct advantages to speaking the language of the people your with, I have written about this on numerous occasions. Last night I had another small, little event that worked out well in my favor so I thought I would mention it. I brought a new used Domke bag on this trip to carry my Leica's, a bag I have grown to love in a very short time.

Going into my last day in the dump as I as cleaning my camera gear the night before when I noticed a large 3 inch tear in the cloth of the bag, right under the strap in one of the pockets. The damage to the bag was rather extensive and in a bad place, I knew if I brought it back to Canada I would have to toss the thing in the garbage and buy another bag at a cost of $100 or so. In the past I have had good luck having things repaired in Thailand so decided to give that a try. The first 2 sewing shops said the damage was to much and their machines would not do the job. One person recommended a shoe repair shop (an old lady sitting on the street with a stool and a small box to work from). I took the bag to the shoe repair lady and she did a great job repairing the large tear along with some smaller holes for 100 baht ($3.31 CAD).

I took the bag away very happy but then I found another whole on the opposite side of the bag that would eventually grow and grow. I went back to the old Thai repair lady looking to see if she could repair that as well. The problem was that she was done for the day had put way all her gear (into a very small metal box with locks on it, the box was left on the street). I sort of chased her up some nearby stairs (she was heading upstairs to her home) asking her to repair the small growing hole in my bag. She sort of made a face and a grunt that she did not want to do anything that she was done for the day etc. I told her in Thai that it was just a small hole I would give her 40 baht for it and that I was returning to Canada soon and could not get it done there (begging and pleading in Thai). The woman looked at me from behind her little dust mask and came down stairs. I did not realize what a burden it would for her to unpack everything, she everything and the kitchen sink inside that little metal box. It took lots of effor for her to take everything out again and prepare to work.

The lady unpacked her box, got out her glue, attached a piece of cloth to the bag, did some hammering on a heavy metal shoe frame, then brought out a big shoe style sewing needle and thread to attach it firmly to the bag. She did a fricking great job, I ended up giving her 60 baht which she was very happy with and gave me a big wai which I returned.

The funny part was that at first when she started working she was kind of grumpy, as she worked another customer brought some killer ass high heel woman's shoes to repair, she rather briskly told the man that she would do it tomorrow and to come back then. I joked with her that she could never go home because she had to many customers. That sort of lightened the mood  (up to that point I was quietly sitting next to her) and she started to ask me why I spoke Thai so well etc, she asked me about when I was returning to Canada etc (guess my plea of difficulty repairing goods in Canada was understood). So the the Thai helped me get my bag fixed it cost a total of 160 baht ($5.30 CAD) and its as good as new, I can use it for years to come. You got to love Thailand and the Thai people.

: )