We arrived at Hua Lamphong station in a major hurry, sweat from the heat and weight of the backpack stuck to us like a layer of grease. We had plenty of time to make it here for our train up North. A wrong way direction on the BTS Skytrain, change of platform, jump on the correct train, up and down steps, half walking/half slightly jogging through the crowds, paying for ‘exact fare’ train tickets (have those 10 Baht coins ready!) and then the train was here waiting. Phew! ‘We had plenty of time!’ I proudly boasted. The I’m not one bit impressed look I got back was comical. Shit happens but this was too close. Yep! If I listened to my wife we would’ve been here an hour ago. We’re here now and onto the train we go. And there she stood. My little Thai nemesis.
‘Orange juice?’ she proclaims holding out a tray with plastic cartons. ‘No thank you.’ I replied. ‘Yes please!’ says herself. “One? Two?’ Now remember we are hot, sweaty and trying to find our seat. Our carriage hasn’t been attached to the train yet so we don’t have a seat to find. “One,’ I replied. I had water with me. ‘Just the one please’ says Denise. POP! goes the straw. Denise takes her juice. POP! Goes the straw and she hands over the second juice. “I only want one!’ The little evil imp looked on in pretend shock hurt. You know ‘that’ look! ‘I open two now’. Bitch. ‘You pay later.’ ‘How much?’ ‘You pay later!’ Off she scurried down the carriageway with her tray of poison like Gollum and his ‘precious.’
Then BANG! The next carriage (our carriage) plunged into the train. It came from nowhere! We eventually got sorted to our seats, settled our stuff and relaxed. As trains go, it’s not the Orient Express, but’s a step up from the CIE trains we have back home in Ireland. We had checked up on the menu online a few days ago. The man in Seat 61 has all the details. Not too sure how it will pan out for Denise with Gluten free varieties a little harder to make out, so we brought some of our own food just in case. ‘You pay now.’ The bitch was back. No probs, even though I didn’t want a second orange juice (which was water with orange flavouring btw!) I will pay for it. The first one is still half full. €160 Baht. ‘What? I didn’t want two. I’m not paying for two.’ Now this is a rip off. Two beers I can understand (alcohol WILL eat your budget – drink responsibly) but this stuff. Coolpops at home taste better and they were 10p when I was growing up. Anyway it went on and on. ‘I will tell Police.’ To save the peace I paid. Denise mentioned getting banged up abroad and as that is not my idea of fun, for now the imp has won this round. ‘I think I have whiplash,’ quipped Denise. The carriage had hit us hard. Speaking of hard, for any male out there who has suffered motion flatulence on a bus, then imagine nearly five hours of it!
The seats were converted into sleeper beds and it was pretty cool the whole thing. This way of overland travelling saves budgets a ton of money with no over priced airfare, and it is also your bed for the night. The train tickets come in various prices. We opted for 2nd class sleeper upper and lower berth so we would have both seats to ourselves. It cost 781 Baht (€21.13, $23.85, £15.83) upper berth and 881 Baht (€23.84, $26.90, £ 17.86) lower berth–one way and we left Bangkok at 7:35 pm, arriving at Chiang Mai at 10am. It didn’t take long for everyone to pull across their curtains and the evening drifted into night. Now, as any fella knows the motion of the clickity clack vibrating has a strange effect. Viagra would have nothing on it. All I could do was sleep through it. I was glad when morning came and the attendant put the seats back to normal. Pulling back the curtains to see the sunshine through the trees over the mountains was a lovely view. ‘Breakfast kaaaa!?’ (Thai women say kaa a lot, think it means ‘yes’) The nemesis was back with her overpriced non-gluten friendly menu in hand. I shook my head no. Denise had showed me a book she was planning to read on the trip called ‘F**k it’ by John C Parkin and the intro she had read out to me sounded like a good approach. ‘F**k it.’ I thought to myself. I just shook my head no and looked forward to spending a few days chilling with my wife in Chiang Mai.