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Thai Girl Tattle: Manifolds And The Missionary Position!

...Iím not sure if Iím cut out to be a salesman, but I do still love my jeep and itís been a great car for posing in. Apart from taking unscheduled holidays, itís done good service for us over several years. Having a much longer load base than the original Willys jeep, it has carried many tons of cement, sand and stone, pigs, a heavy spirit house and 100 kilo sacks of rice. Once returning from a funeral we had seventeen passengers on board, so it can be a really useful car on local runs...

Andrew Hicks has reluctantly decided to sell one of his most treasured possessions.

This is to tell the world that Iím putting an important literary artifact up for sale.

When itís a Cadillac once owned by Elvis Presley, the auction prices go sky high. And thatís despite the fact Elvis never sang about his cars and he had hundreds of them and gave them away as presents.

Iím now selling my beloved jeep and itís sure to go quickly as it too has had a brush with fame. As an important member of our Thai family, it has three chapters all to itself in, ďMY THAI GIRL AND Ií, the book about Ďhow I found a new life in Thailandí.

In the chapters, ĎLove Me, Love My Jeepí and ĎThe Black Jeep of the Familyí I tell the entranced reader how my own obsessive jeep syndrome and the mai pen rai attitude of local mechanics placed a severe strain on our marriage. ĎNot Crossing Bordersí is how my love affair was rekindled when I had a new four speed gear box fittedÖ my love for the jeep that is.

And in ĎThe Jeep Strikes Backí I tell the story of how when carrying a ton or two of illicit timber at dead of night, the prop shaft fell into the road with a crash leaving me with a serious conundrumÖ either to flee the scene, abandoning the jeep and my marriage, or to keep pushing and risk twenty years in a Thai jail.

This chapter ends with the comment that despite all the problems itís given me, Iíll never sell my jeep, but that, ďafter this bookís published, Iíll never be able to sell it anywayĒ. Not true though for many reasons!

Coupled with its special place in literature, the practical side for buyers is that the extensive restoration work done on a vehicle has never before been so thoroughly and publicly documented. The lucky buyer will receive a bundle of bills for work done amounting to sixty or seventy thousand bahtÖ and of course a valuable signed copy of the book.

The problem though selling an old jeep round here in Surin is that no Thai farmer will buy it except for peanuts as itís really a toy for an eccentric farang, and there are very few of these nearby. In Pattaya or Chiang Mai, it would sell very fast. Here itís more difficult.

Annoyingly, I have sold the jeep once already, just that the buyer never actually gave me the money. He was very, very keen to buy it, as would be any discerning petrol-head, and he couldnít wait to come up here to Isaan and collect it. But he kept making veiled references to needing it for work and getting the agreement of his partner abroad, which had me a little perplexed. I suggested it mightnít be the most practical vehicle for daily business use but this only strengthened our mutual trust and regard.

We thus continued our extensive email exchanges in which he asked for more photos, and I told him the engine and gearbox were from a Nissan Turbo Diesel, that all the clutch and brake systems were modern Japanese, that rarely had we gone beyond our local market town for spares and that in the course of four yearsí daily use Iíd replaced and overhauled almost all the moving parts of the damned thing except the air con and the door hinges because it doesnít have any.

I told him itís got some new tires, a new battery, radiator core, shocks, rear diff, universal joint and that thereís a nice little compass and temperature gauge that tells you which way youíre pointing and why youíre feeling so damned hot. My distant buyer was pleasant and positive and we became good email friends.

Clearly he was smitten by the jeep, a price was agreed sight unseen and we kept in close contact literally for months. Until one day I received an email in which he admitted the purchase was not entirely in his control because it wasnít his own money he was spending.

He was, he said, a missionary!

All my doubts about the jeepís suitability as a serious workhorse were now dispelled. Clearly this was an ideal car for a missionary. It would make him highly visible to his flock. It would be like a donkey doing Godís work, the self-mortifying, Ďsack cloth and ashesí equivalent of comfortable modern transport. There could be no manifold sins and wickedness hereÖ no mia noi would ever be seen dead in this car!

Furthermore, Iíll admit that on my journeys in the jeep Iíve sometimes prayed. For him the power of prayer would surely get him there and if not, heíd have the chance to meet and perhaps convert the many souls heíd asked to push him home.

Heíd also told me that he was very happy to work on the mechanics of the car himself, so I could imagine him up to his elbows in its innards, sorely tested and trying not to blaspheme in the name of the Lord. And he would often find himself lying on his back underneath itÖ in what I might call Ďthe missionary positioní.

Needless to say he never came up with the money, so now the jeepís back on the market and Iím hoping someone, missionary or otherwise, will want to buy it.

ĎItís a good little bus. Iíd stake my life on it.í (A quote from a First Year contract case whose name Iíve forgotten as it was forty years ago.) And Iím sure the first to see will buy. Despite the jeepís limitations, the right buyer will have lots of fun with itÖ as the actress almost certainly said to the sado-masochistic bishop!

Iím not sure if Iím cut out to be a salesman, but I do still love my jeep and itís been a great car for posing in. Apart from taking unscheduled holidays, itís done good service for us over several years. Having a much longer load base than the original Willys jeep, it has carried many tons of cement, sand and stone, pigs, a heavy spirit house and 100 kilo sacks of rice. Once returning from a funeral we had seventeen passengers on board, so it can be a really useful car on local runs. The key to enjoying it is having a good mechanic nearby or being one yourself. And if you have a wife and you want to keep her, sheíll have to be the tolerant kind.

When I first bought the jeep, the previous garage owner/enthusiast had just done a full body off restoration, fitting the new engine and other systems and the problem was that it hadnít had a proper post-rebuild shake-down before he sold it to me. This coupled with a plague of mai pen rai mechanics meant quite a few tribulations, but I hope itís now sorted just in time to sell, probably for about half what itís cost me so far.

Itís never been raced or rallied, has had no elderly lady owners, and was never owned by Elvis Presley, though Lamyai, his biographerís wife keeps asking about buying it. And thereís a genuine reason for sale. Iíve got a nice new Toyota Pickup which has made the jeep totally redundant.

In the first week of December Iíll be in Cambodia, going cross country from the Surin border to Angkor Wat, but Iíll be keen to field your enquiries at arhicks56@hotmail.com. The jeep is in our village in Surin province so youíll have to come here to look at it there when I get back.

This isnít a joke and I do want to sell it.

But Iíll be sad to see it go. Honest!

**

Do please visit Andrew's Web sites
http://www.thaigirl2004.com/
http://www.thaigirl2004.blogspot.com/

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