First Solo Night Train!
I've caught my first night train alone! I was terrified. I'm always irrationally scared about getting on the wrong carriage or even the wrong train but so far that's only happened to me once (a few months ago on the way home from work).
I had to change my ticket to get on at a stop earlier - at the great cost of 20 Baht - so arrived at the station two hours early. I think that's a record even for me. Anyway, I patiently sat (and silently panicked) for a good hour and a half before deciding to ready myself on the platform. I hovered near fellow backpacking-Chiang Mai-night train-looking people for a bit, didn't feel anymore reassured, so headed over to the man at the desk to ask where my carriage was. "Second to last, all the way down". Typical.
I positioned myself back in front of a fan to keep cool and who did I happen to sit opposite? A man who'd just lost his second toe. How do I know this? He proceeded to take off the bandage, revealing his gungy, crusty foot underneath, wound still gaping, then started to clean it. The bandage? Oh, he dropped it on the floor. I'm gagging as I type this but sharing is caring and that image will haunt me to my dying day. I don't do feet.
Anyway, I soon heard a man ringing a bell and like moths to a flame the backpackers began to make their way to the end of the platform. Like the creeper that I am, I followed them at a safe distance, and sure enough the train arrived. Magical.
I was honestly expecting the worst. I'd read a few reviews online saying it was a bit dirty and cramped, but having seen the Thai overnight trains, I can only assume that those people had never been on the Indian version. For starters it's clean, there's no smell of urine outside the toilets and there's actual people to help you and show you to your seat. I felt like I was flying first class with Etihad. Each bed also has its own curtain, reading light and the pillow is actually quite plump. I was in heaven (hence this rather gushing post).
So where is my final destination? Chiang Mai. I'm here for a few days mainly to see the elephants and then I'm still undecided where to go next. Do I brave the rain and go to the islands? Spend a few days in Chiang Rai as my hostel roomies suggested? Or just go straight to Australia (I'm feeling a little homesick - HA! Bet you didn't see that one coming!!) Or I actually think I might just ride this night train back and forth for the next fortnight.
Blog post-wise I'm a little behind in my posting and I'm going to blame that on the wifi rather than me. I've got another one from Bangkok, two from Ayutthaya, then I should be on to Chiang Mai by the weekend.
Alsooooo I'm in the process of writing this week's newsletter (very organised of me, I know), it's got some *exclusive* travel tales for you plus a selection of my favourite posts from the week. If you'd like to sign up I suggest using the form on the menu as I'm not entirely sure I have the bottom one configured properly just yet. Next 10 people to sign up will receive a signed photograph of me.