Everything works out in Thailand. (April 11, 2014.)

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Neon Lights, Bangkok.

I thought everything worked out in Thailand. My first few days here were little short of magical. I do not mean that in the sense that Bangkok is some mystical wonderland. Rather, that I have encountered very few difficulties. Even the difficulties I encountered were easily bested. For instance, after 36 hours of traveling, the dreaded airport transfer to the apartment was easy. I found my way through customs no problem. Currency exchange was a breeze. I was even approached by a couple friendly Americans who helped ease the taxi process by sharing the ride. I checked items off the intricate list of instructions from my boss like they were nothing. Need to travel the 3 km back from the local Tesco (Think Walmart…) with more than you can carry on the BTS (metro)? No, you can’t even fit in a normal cab… But, there is a mini-pickup like vehicle right over there for about 3 USD. The driver will even help carry your things!

I thought everything worked out in Thailand, until it stopped. On my first day in the crew apartment I went to leave, I checked the door on the way out. It was locked. I checked my pocket. No key. As the door was still open, I went back and found the key, resolving to be careful about this. Later that day, I left my bedroom. I had forgotten something and went to retrieve it. It was locked! Not the outside door, the bedroom door. I had not even realized it was capable of locking. I closely inspected the doorknob. It was unlike any I had ever seen. The hole in center was relatively large. Three retractable pins protruded upwards from the bottom and I could not make anything else out. Everything I have was locked inside, save a pen, my wallet and my phone.

First, I tried the pen. It would not fit in the hole, so I removed the ink tube. There was nothing to poke in the back of knob. I fiddled with depressing the pins. I tried a plastic business card in jamb. I tried everything I could think of. I even Google searched how to open a locked door. And Google, no one who needs instructions on how to use a key is capable of conducting a search on Google… So why the F*&% is that your first suggestion!?!?! I tried to open the door for at least 45 minutes. I went downstairs to the office. It had closed long ago, and would remain closed for the holiday weekend. Everything, I owned was locked in the room. I was on my own in Bangkok for at 3 days too. I searched around for tools. There were none. At this point I had a small revelation. Despite the copious trash all over Thailand, nothing remotely useful is thrown away. Plastic is everywhere, but there is not even a scrap of metal.

I retreated back to the apartment looking for ideas. I pushed on the door. I pulled on the door. I tried everything over. With frustration building I began to concentrate force on the doorknob, careful to protect the actual door. I used my foot. I tried not to make a suspicious amount of noise. I used every ounce of strength in my body. I adjusted position and pushed in different directions. The knob finally began to bend. I stood on the knob and jumped up and down. It turns out doors are strong, probably with good reason. I paced the apartment again, eventually disassembling a window latch. This gave me something of a pry bar and I began to apply force again. I kicked, I pried, I kicked I pried. After another 20 minutes the knob broke free, and I went tumbling back into the next bedroom. But, the door was still shut, and I could not fit my fingers into the mechanism. SH*T! I left for dinner. I was already an hour and a half late.

Later in the evening I returned. I took a chair from the dining room and sat down, staring my nemesis straight in the eyes.  I studied it for some time. No, my fingers would not fit. I retrieved the window latch and jammed it into the mechanism. I twisted it, turned it, pried it and bent it. After a surprisingly short duration, the door popped open. I was ecstatic! The air con had even cooled this one room down to a comfortable temperature. Elation. I looked back at the destruction. “I will have to do something about this,” I thought. Here is to hoping that things will work out, in Thailand.

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I just don’t know…

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Making Progress

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Not Ideal, but I win.

P.S. Please don’t patronize. But, if you examine the picture of this knob and you honestly have a suggestion as to how it could have been opened without many tools, and you honestly do not believe I would have thought of it (I thought of a lot, trust me) please let me know what it is for future reference.

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