Thursday, December 15, 2011


This has been a great year, very busy , but all in all a great year. Hope all is well with all of the readers of my little blog.  Sorry I haven't posted as much as I would have wanted to , BUTTT Ciejay's honey do list are getting bigger all the time , and some days my get up and go seems to have got up and gone , soooo I find myself  when ever the opportunity comes my way,I jump in the hammock for a quick power nap.
Here's wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year too, and as they say in Thailand ---"rich ,rich, lucky lucky,happy happy".

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Samlor--- saved from the scrap pile and restored to beyond it's glory

This is the before --just as he bought it
And this is the after  ---3 months of hard work

My friend Jerry has been for the last few months been busy restoring a old and I mean old Samlor( a bicycle with a passenger seat.  I'll let him tell the story , I think he did a great job and lots of hard work and love went into this project , I went by every week to check on progress and was always amazed at the work he did little by little .Hope you enjoy the story and pictures and if you leave a comment I'll be sure he see's them. Malcolm
Just to give you all a brief description on what a samlor is and a little history about it before I start telling you about the restoration:

A samlor is a three wheel bicycle with a seat behind the driver in which to carry passengers. It was one of the first forms of public taxi service in Thailand. The samlors were first built in the northeast of Thailand in Nakhon Ratchasima in 1933 and quickly spread throughout Thailand as a popular mode of transportation. Presently in Thailand due to modern day traffic such as car taxis, buses and millions of personal cars and trucks crowding the highways, the slow samlor is just getting in the way and have been banned inside some cities and will surely become a thing of the past in 10-20 years. Some parts of the country still allow samlors to operate on the backstreets but with the loss of income to samlor drivers, they will be forced to change to other modes of travel. Tourists coming to Thailand have always looked forward to a ride in a samlor just to experience a little of part of Thai culture. So after being in Thailand for 10 years, I decided to

restore a piece of Thai history in hopes that some young people that have never seen a samlor will be able to experience a bit of their own culture after their grandparents and myself are gone.

I have taken a few before and after pictures of the samlor and wish that I had taken more especially when it came time to put it back together. I first want to say that this samlor that I purchased was at least 30 years old and that the old Thai man that sold it said he just got to old to peddle it and had bought a motorcycle with a side cart for his taxi business. I disassembled the entire samlor and started to check, repair, replace and restore everything as best as I could. I quickly discovered that parts are hard to find because all the companies that made samlors went out of business several years ago and there are very few shops in the country that still repair samlors with remaining parts from years past. It won't be long until it will be impossible to find parts. It was a real experience trying to explain to shop owners which parts that I was looking for when they were not expecting a foreigner to be fixing up an old samlor. Most people thought I was out of my mind, but I already knew that. I will try to explain a little about each picture the best that I can and hopefully you will understand. I will use the picture number in my draft here and hope that they will match up in order when I attach the photos to this email. If you click on the link that I have attached you will find the pictures and if you look in the lower right hand corner you will find the comment on each picture same as below.!362&parid=root

Photo Attachments:

#001 Samlor was bought for $254.00 on Sept 12, 2011. The last new samlors sold a few years ago for around $2000.00. The picture makes it appear to be in good shape. Things looked ok before I bought it, boy was I wrong!!

#002 Center of the photo is a cast iron emblem of a deer with wings with the name of the company : Liang Service Co. in the Thai Language. Notice a lot of rust and front fender damage at the bottom.

#003 Front View

#004 Notice the motorcycle mirrors welded to handle bars. Samlors came out with no mirrors. Man at the re-chroming shop did a great job of grinding them off and re-chroming handlebars. Brass figurine will be explained later.

#006 Looking down at the floorboard shows a lot of rot and damage.

#007 Scene hand painted on back of passenger seat is of the Bridge Over River Kwai. Hated to remove it but had to do repairs to the seat and removed 4 layers of old paint.

#008 Side view. Notice the blue roof was taped on with black electrical tape.

#009 Rear bumper was not damaged but had some rust on back side, needed re-chroming. The emblem in center of bumper is of the deer with wings again.

#010 Parts everywhere. Lots of damage to wooden passenger seat.

#011 Heavy duty springs and other parts in need of re-chroming.

#013 Disassembling the wheels.

#014 View of bottom of seat and main chassis leaning against the pole. I have no electric power tools so I used a pocket knife to strip the paint off the chassis along with steel wool.

#016 Loaded up and ready to go looking for bearings for axle, wheels, front forks, and pedal crank.

#019 Had to replace all bearings on samlor

#020 Rear axle chain sprocket about 50% worn. At present unable to find a new one but will keep looking. This one will still last a long time no more than it will be ridden.

#021 The brake is on the right rear wheel.

#022 Brake repair needed, have already found new brake shoe.

#023 Another view of brake. Brake drum is ok.

#026 Springs disassembled and ready for chroming.

#027 Front fender damage repaired using a hammer and a round head bolt.

#028 More front fender damage.

#029 Rear fender damage. Note: All fenders had been painted many times. Had to remove all paint again with a pocket knife and steel wool.

#033 Used paint stripper to remove paint from wooden passenger seat.

#034 Paint stripping. Lot of damage on bottom needing repair.

There may be a few more "before" photos added later.

#036 Here are two of the chassis decorative pieces that were rusted out and I couldn't find replacements so I made new ones. Old ones were made of steel and had been chromed. I purchased a piece of chromed brass sink drain pipe and took a hacksaw blade and a file and worked a week making new ones. There were four pieces in all. This was a hard job!

#040 Starting to reassemble after painting chassis and getting re chromed pieces back.

#042 Rear end assembled and waiting on passenger seat to be finished.

#044 Front half assembled.

#045 Rear wheel view.

#046 Company logo after re chroming.

#047 Floorboard of passenger seat getting ready for polyurethane.

#048 Working on reassembly. Notice the grey primed passenger seat to my left ready for painting.

#049 Adjusting the brakes.

#051 These old pieces were the lip on the floorboard. Made of wood and covered with sheet metal. Wood was rotten. I replaced it all with stainless steel.

#052 Front fender and handlebar grips installed.

#053 Chain installed. All bearings on the samlor were replaced with new ones.

#055 Old seat held together with wire and string.

#056 Another view. This was the original seat and is over 30 years old.

#058 New seat, genuine replacement part.

#059 New seat, best bargain of the restoration project. Cost me $13.50 and was the last one in the shop. Real leather one-quarter inch thick. Lucky to find this!

#061 Solid brass figurine ornament. Very old and worn. Was on the samlor when I bought it, was added by previous owner. He wanted to remove it but I told him I wanted it and he decided to let me have it. This is truly an antique and a great conversation piece.

#062 More on the figurine: This brass figure is a character in the epic saga story of the Ramakien (Google it). His name is Ramasoon and is the " God of Thunder". Perfect for my samlor because I will probably be making a lot of thunder when I strain to pedal this heavy bike! LOL!

#063 Just installed the newly upholstered passenger seat.

#064 Back view of passenger seat.

#067 Front view of passenger seat.

#085 Rear wheel fenders installed with new reflectors. Also installed the re chromed bumper. Paint job that I did on the seat came out looking good after a lot of compounding.

#086 Rear wheel hubcaps installed. I found these after a lot of searching in a lot of cities around Bangkok. Not many of these left in the country.

#091 Roof support tubes mounted. They are the five tubes you see on each side of the seat.

#092 Vinyl roof installed with rain flaps down.

#093 Rain flap side view.

#097 Roof with the rain flaps rolled up. Notice the red bamboo slats that mount into the tubes to support the roof. They are the original slats that came from the factory when it was built. I repainted them.

#098 Finished job

#099 Samlors didn't come with headlights because they were used in the city areas where they had street lights. I live outside the village and decided to add two headlights(one on each side of the passenger seat) to be able to see at night if needed. I also installed two new tail lights under the back of the seat where two old lights were before.

#100 Side view

#103 Back view

#106 Ready to ride! Plan to ride around the village on the King Of Thailand's 84th Birthday to celebrate his birthday on Dec. 05. The whole village will celebrate with a big party and fireworks. LONG LIVE THE KING!!!

#108 View of the seat and floorboard area. That's All Folks!!!

Well, my restoration project is almost completed. It is Dec.03 2011 and I have been working since Sept. 12 and all I have to do now is to clean and polish the samlor and I will be done. Many people have asked me what I plan to do with the samlor and my answer is that I will probably ride it around the village, go to the local market, use it to get a little exercise. Some people have asked me if I would sell it and I said that I would if the price is right, but I really would like to see it end up in a museum so people can remember a part of their heritage. I have spent a lot of time traveling around and looking for parts and looking at other samlors and talking to many samlor drivers. After seeing other samlors and the run-down condition that they were in, it made me feel proud to have taken on this project and to restore a part of Thai culture that is worthy enough to be in a museum. I have put a lot of hard work into this project and have enjoyed the time spent doing it.

I hope everyone of you will take the time to look at the pictures and read the comment that I have put on each one. If you have any questions please feel free to ask and if you have any comments I would love to hear them. Hope you enjoy and learn something from my project.

Peace be with you!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Water ,Water everywhere

Ciejay and me got up early Sunday morning and decided to take a day trip , it wasn't planned , But  the trip was a water related day, We first went about 100 kl. up the road (323) to the town of Tong Pa Pung and went to the huge hydro-electric Dam and lake , from there we went to the Hindad Hot Spring , was this ever a great place, It's well maintained and they have 3 pools to soak in  Hot ,Hotter, and Hottest  and I do mean hot, but the great thing about it is the cold creek from the mountains that runs along side of the hot pools, after a time in the hot you can just slide over into the cold and what a refreshing  feel that is , I'm in whole body and Ciejay is just a feet soaker. We had a great time there and then we were hungry from all the relaxing and found this great little road side restaurant and had the best Pad Thai  I have ever had , we'll be going back for more .

 We then headed back toward home and when we got to Sai Yok Noi ,  Ciejay said "we haven't been to the water fall in quite a while  ,lets go there " so we stopped in Nom Tok and headed up the trail to the water fall . The place was packed ,and lots of folks were pic-nicking and playing in the water , kids everywhere  and having a great time , we soaked our feet in the small falls and just sit and "people watched" for a while , and enjoyed the cool breeze coming off the water . We did a little hiking up the trail to the place where they have one of the old trains parked and you can climb in and pretend you're the engineer , you know me  ,up I went , . After that we came back down the trail to the gift and food shops and we did our share of helping out the local economy, we got a back seat  full of snacks for us and our neighbors and , the one special thing I love is the fresh dried pork that has been sun dried and then deep fried , a lot like the beef jerky I loved in America. It's one of my favorite afternoon snacks , I eat it with sticky rice, it's to kill for . After spending all my money on snacks (that I really don't need to be eating )  we headed home. We had a great day and I was able to take a few pictures before my Sony Cyber -Shot gave up the ghost , I got 5 really good years out of it , and it was always in my pocket  and had fallen out many times and got wet and lots of other abuse, So it was about time , and YES  I'll buy another  Cyber -Shot. 
Hope you enjoy  the day trip post and the pictures.
Thailand is a great place to live and lots of fun stuff to see and do , and all in your "own back yard ", so to speak . I guess that's just another reason why I'm  "Retired in Thailand and Loving It."                                                                                        Malcolm

Sunday, November 6, 2011


I know I haven't said much about the flooding in Thailand , BUT , my computer has been having problems and we've been busy working in the yard as the rainy season has come to a end here in our little part of Thailand .
 But--  that cannot be said of about 1/3rd of the provinces in Thailand many have been flooded with water up to 2 and 3  feet and some places even higher , and with it all happening right in the middle of the rainy season and with the ground already being saturated with the rain , the water just are not going down in many places and will be around for quite a while.
Our Thai. daughter Nu and husband A and grandson Nicky boy's home was flooded to the first floor in Nakon Sawan and they had to flee up North to their relatives and are building a small home there , as it will be in reality months before things in Thailand will be back to normal ,, they make a trip to their home every week to check on things and they have someone who is watching the place for them ,by staying on the second floor and guarding things , when in time like these , as almost everywhere , there are terrible people that take advantage of other folks tragedies and are going around to homes where there is no one staying and just helping themselves to what ever is there. In fact I would say that for some places it will be years and some will never be the same , even as I type this it was announced on the news that lots of water is now pouring into the center of the business and market districts of Bangkok today.
 Our little village is full and I mean full  of folks who have fled Bangkok and  are living with relatives here or they are renting every guest house and empty room for a place to stay  with their families and pets  some expect to be here for months. We have several homes on our street that have been rented out and they are several families staying in each one , people helping people and Wang Pho is doing it's best to help all we can.

 We were in Kanchanaburi a couple days ago for my Dr.'s app. and they say that there are thousands of folks that have fled to the city  of Kanchanaburi as some hospital in Bangkok have been closed and they ( the sick) have come to our Prov. hospital to get treatment , when Ciejay got there it was packed, thankful she was already scheduled and was only there for 4 hours .Afterwords we went across the street to Tesco and you could not hardly find a place to park it was sooo busy, they are trying , but a lot of shelves were empty and some prices had gone way up.They have been asked by our PM not to raise prices , But many of their suppliers are in the flooded city of BKK and have only limited supplies , and their factories are being closed , because of the flooding they are charging more and it is being pasted on to the consumers This months groceries probably cost us at least $50 more US dollars  than last month and will probably go up even more as the waters will be around in most places for a while .
  As the title says  we here in Wang Pho are high and dry and our folks are doing all we can to help those effected by the flooding .
Take care and remember to pray for the folks and not only them but thousands of pets have been left behind and many are starving and hungry too .  This kind of stuff effects the hold of humanity and the animal kingdom as well.  If you have any questions about the flooding or if you want to know how you can help  E-mail me and I'll point you to the RIGHT place.                                                            Malcolm

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What's that noise???????

I woke up early this morning with the sound of sawing and grinding and hammering , I ask  Ciejay "whats all that noise"?. I don't know was her answer , which was a little strange , because normally the neighbors tell each other everything they are doing(well almost) , especially when they are building something . My curiosity got the best of me and I could not go back to sleep with all the noise , so I got up dressed grabs my first cup of coffee and out the door to see what I could see. I found two strangers ,with all kind of wood-working tools laying everywhere on the road and it looked like they were going to make something , well, I sit down on a stump and watched for a bit while I enjoyed my coffee and the smell of wood being planed and sawed , I love the smell of worked wood. Well it didn't take long for me to figure out that they were going to make a table out of the wood that my neighbor had saved when they cut down a jack-fruit tree that was about ready to blow over near their house . I love the yellow color of the jack-fruit wood, and I have been enjoying a rather beautiful table made from a Jack-fruit tree that I use for my computer and (Ciejay calls it my Junk table) and stuff. I watched as these men, here on the side of the road and in no time at all made a table that after it has been sanded and finished with a clear coat of wood preservative like varnish or poly-urethane , and rubbed to a glossy finish . If you were to buy a table like this, in the USA, where I'm from, it would cost you at least $300.00 US DOLLARS and that is a very conservative guess, but here in the LOS with wood free for the cutting ( if it's on your property and for your use ) and a couple of skilled woodman you can have one for as little as 1,000 baht (US $30 dollars) and if you have a relative that is skilled even cheaper. I love to watch the Thai's at work building , it would take a shop and lots of tools and money to build a table like this in the USA  , but here in the LOS  any place with a little shade and somewhere to run a cord for power and  the next thing you know , got a table.Well that's my story and I've included a few pictures for you to look at, hope you enjoy. Malcolm

Went to take a look this morning andf they had made 3 more tables and had enough wood to make a small book shelf , took a couple new pictures for you to see.  Malcolm

All the tables in our home are made from wood left over from our remodel in 2004 ( the wood is sooo hard that you have to pre-drill  , before you can drive a nail into it,) except the computer table , which is made by Thai craftsman from a Jack-fruit tree we cut down a few years ago.As a side note the Thai's use the jack-fruit wood for the backs of guitars made in Thailand.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

THE HAMMOCK OF LIFE (another repost)

Our friend Florance giving it a try
Ciejay has pretty well figured it out

And me,I am a master hammocker

Seven years ago, when I was living in America , I ended up in the emergency room one evening with what I thought was a heart attack, fortunately it was not.After a overnite stay the Dr. came in to discharge me and to give me some instructions about my health and my life style and, how to prevent a real heart attack, "this time it was just a warning sign" he said, and you have a severe case of stress related heart problems, being brought on by your work habits and lifestyle. My suggestion is that you make a change at once and get all this under control. Well I gave it a try for a week and then went back to my old habits , and would'nt you know it his prediction came true , only this time I needed a triple by-pass to save my life. After the operation and six months of recouping , I felt strong enough to go back to work. Then I meet my Thai wife , Ciejay , and we took a trip to Thailand and at the same time it was time to retire. So, here we are in the LOS and no stress Thailand . with the good weather and , food , and easy living , I feel like a new man, and my body feels like it, and, my kids and wife say I look like a new man too.
The one thing I do remember the Dr. saying was this " Malcolm the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a NAP, every day for at least one hour". AND THEN I SAW IT, the ultimate napping object, and answer to my prayers, the all mighty HAMMOCK.
The hammock is a fabric sling used for sleeping or resting while suspended above ground,it normally consist of one or more cloth panels,or woven network of
twine stretched with ropes between two firm points such as trees or poles.Hammocks were developed by native inhabitants of tropical regions for sleeping or resting.
There is an art and sometimes hard learned lesson to sleeping or resting in a hammock ,one wrong move and you will find yourself on the ground with a sore back or lump on your head, I seem to have mastered this very quickly and as per my Dr.'s advice I force myself to take a Nap every day. Ha Ha. If you have not yet discovered this wonderful invention of the natives in tropical regions , I hope you do soon , it will change you life . If you need help mastering ,and figuring it out come on over about three o 'clock every afternoon and I'll personally show you how it's done . I have a extra hanging nearby for guest.

You'll hear the cry of the obedient expat "Hammock Time." Malcolm

Monday, September 26, 2011

Retirement ---Rerun--- Why Thailand ?????

Nu and A and Nicky Boy
fishing at one of my favorite spots
Taking a bath and ride on my friend Moll-Lee
Our home the first time we saw and bought it in 2003
A couple years later after the remodel and  adding a few plants and flowers

 We call this our long room
Our home in 2011
fresh chicken and chicken parts
lots of salads to take home
Me and My Girl
I love this
Sunset from the porch
Wang Pho train station
Our church family  Hope of Kanchanaburi
Taking off for a little tripn with folks from our village

We were in town the other day and we saw a friend or two  that was here in the LOS on a holiday and thinking about retirement, and they ask us the same question many have ask us in the past as to why we chose Thailand as our retirement home and country. Well , it will be 7 years in October that we moved here from America," lock stock and barrel "as the ole saying goes and I thought it would be good to repeat a post I posted about a year or so ago , it might help to answer that question, Hope you enjoy the older post and pictures.

                                                             Why Thailand

When we travel on vacation or we are out and about, one of the most ask questions is "Why Thailand."In order to really answer that question , First, you have to know that I am married to a Thai lady , and one of my main concerns in my marriage was what could I do to make her happy .We came to Thailand in 2003 on a vacation and a chance for me to meet her family and kids. I saw at once ,how happy she was to be in her home country with friends and family , and yet have the security in knowing that she had a husband who could and would do anything she needed , with-in reason to make her happy. Not only could I see how happy she was , but I at once fell in love with Thailand , there was lots of things that attracted me to the LOS , BUT the most important one was how happy Ciejay seemed to be .

I knew it was about time for us to start thinking seriously about where we wanted to live out out retirement years , I had always thought about somewhere close to my Brother and Sister, out Tenn. way , and we went for a visit to check things out before coming to Thailand the next year on Vacation , and somehow it just didn't feel right to both of us. Before we came over to the LOS we had mentioned to each other if the opportunity and time arrived that we would look around and maybe think about Thailand (of course it was my first visit ,so much of the decision would be on my shoulders. We looked around and then on the last day when we came to Kanchanaburi and our small village of Whang Pho , We looked at each other and smiled, and knew this was the place. We had little daylight left for this visit to her Older Brother and the next day it was off to Bangkok to catch the plane and head home , Would you believe we found a little house and piece of land and bought it in the dark of night , saying that we would be back next year when I retired and make it our home , Everyone laughed and thought to themselves that they would never see us again, but we fooled them all and you can read about the move and remodel and moving , in a older post , just go back and start from my first ones .

Now that was a long story to tell you the main reason for choosing Thailand. Some of the others are as follows and in no order of importance , all of them to us are important reasons for choosing the LOS.

1.--My small SS check is enough for us here in Thailand.

2.--We were able for Ciejay to buy a house and small piece of land with what little money we had in savings.

3.--The weather is the kind of weather I always thought I would like about a place, when I retired.

4.--The food is out of this world tasty, healthy (spicy mind you ) but plenty and fresh, and growing everywhere , even in your own backyard.

5.--The Thai people,( our neighbors and village folks) even tho it took a while to get use to their way of life and culture and their way of thinking , and for them to get use to me -ha ha ha

6.-- The almost crime free village and area we live in .

7.--Lots of things to see and do , and a lot of it not far from where we live .

8.--Our Thai family

9.--Our dogs(our kids ) that can run free and wild .(we have since lost Bok ), but Sabu is alive and well, and a everyday source of fun and companionship

10.--Our home, our yard with all the plants and flowers and the wonderful view of the mountains from our front porch , all these things make up our little  piece of paradise

11.--Our village and the town folks .

12.--And our neighbors

13.--Our Dr's., and health care

14.-- Our church and church family

15.-- The difference in our health since moving here to Thailand

16.-- And the big difference in me and my thinking about life and living.

17.-- The happiness I see in my wife ,Ciejay,(thai nickname Toon)

That's not all the reasons , I could go on and on , and you might say "well couldn't you find that in your own country ", maybe so , But we didn't. and we have found it here in what we call our little piece of paradise, that , we believe the Lord had saved just for us and all the blessings that go along , with being Retired in Thailand and Loving It .