I’m writing this as we rattle along at a comforatble 100-120 km/hour on a train, sitting in my bed, just like a well made cubby house. Listening to a blues playlist I put together, more obscure music with new versions of classics like When The Levee Breaks thrown in. We left Bangkok at 6pm and arrive in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand at 7am.
A relatively early start today, for us anyway. Today was an Intrepid paid breakfast at the hotel but their breakfast box is crap so we go to the small convenience shop next door, it has some chips and savoury rolls BUT most important of all they have a small espresso machine. I buy a custard roll and a cappuchino thats strong and full of flavour. Cost 100 baht. We walk a block and get on a local bus to the grounds of Wat Pho where we see the reclining Golden Buddha, he’s a big old gold long lieing down bugger, 46 metres long and 15 metres high built 5-600 years ago. The feet are beautiful, black onyx it looks like with inlaid mother of pearl. The other pagodas around him were built n the 1800’s. Its pretty impressive although I think I like the Emerald Buddha and The Grand Palace better.
The next thing is we split into 2 groups and get into long tail boats and explore the klongs (canals) of Bangkok. Its like Venice, canals everywhere, crumbling in a lot of places, stunning moern architural design with piers onto the klong in others. Some houses with rotted stumps slope into the water, you could fall out of bed and roll into the canal if you weren’t careful. We feed some catfish in a sanctuary area, big fat hungery suckers with enormous catfish whiskers who fight and wrestle for the bread we throw them. Probably end up on dinner plates at some stage.
Then its back via the local bus to near the hotel where Naa (our tour group leader) helps me negotiate to get the battery repaced on my watch. My watch is Tim’s old Rip Curl Surfers Watch that I resurrected from his draw, so now ehen I travel I travel with one of the many nice watches he owned. I’m also carrying soem of his ashes that I’ll leave in the Mekong River in a few days time. His ashes have a home in Dubbo but The Navigator and I deposit small amounts in rivers around the world. So he’s still travelling with us when we travel.
A nice break this arvo, pack up the room, two young Irish guys on the trip share the room so that we can freshen up before we head to the train at 4.30.
The train is quite long, about 16 carriages and we’re in 2nd class which is quite nice. First Class looks super nice as we walk past. There are seats that convert into double decker beds, firm but better than a swag on hard rocky ground. We eat the food we brought onto the train,there is no catering no is alcohol allowed on the train. Too many f….wit tourists over doing it we are told, fair enogh I reckon. The train guards carry glock pistols on their hips, I figure I’m being compliant tonight. at 8pm the crew come through and make up the beds and it gets quiet very quickly.
I’m looking forward to seeing and getting to know Chiang Mai over the next few days.
Ciao from train in middle Thaland – Pauolo