Sunday, December 19, 2010

Trip to Chiang Mai

I left from Bangkok's Railway station, Hua Lampong, on the edge of Chinatown:
where there's a great Buddha image (like just about everywhere you look):
and even the "information desk" is decorated:
where monks get their own waiting area:
and I got on the "special express" train to Chiang Mai (way up north), which looked like something from a movie (a period piece to be exact):
I was amazed when the thing was able to lumber out of the station at a giddy 10mph.  Sitting across from me was the surliest French woman you never want to meet.  But next to me (in a space meant for 2 Thais) were 4 - 6 of the nicest Thai people you could ever meet (the lady is Sunny, who kind of became my guardian):  
They were traveling with 40 co-workers for their annual holiday getaway (and many of them spoke some English - Sunny's was very impressive)!
So they took me to the bar-car to join the party:
which was more like a club-car, with dancing and all:

It was great fun, I learned more Thai, and they even picked up the tab!
Then, about 14 hours later, we arrived!    
The taxi to my guest-house had a typical, glued down dashboard-shrine: 
And it took 17 hours door to door from Bangkok to Chiang Mai! 
Thanks to the "spe-shall X-prrrresss!" as one hilarious Thai repeatedly pronounced it, to the ironic delight of everyone.  Some say I should have taken the "Sprinter" train, which, because of the Asian confusion between "L" and "R," became the more evocative "Splinter Train."

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