Tuesday, November 3, 2009

hitchin' on a twilight train

I arrived in Chiang Mai this morning after taking the overnight train from Bangkok. My only other train experience was Tacoma to Portland, so this was a glorious adventure for which I was sorely underdressed. As I approached the platform and saw the train waiting, I squealed with glee and regretted not bringing white gloves, a jaunty hat and a tailored dress in my backpack. Instead, I wore a $5 dress from Cambodia and a pair of decomposing flip-flops. It was still glorious.

I won the coin-toss for the bottom bunk and was grateful for a window. I didn't sleep very well, but our fourteen-hour train ride offered interesting views, the opportunity to use a squat toilet on the train, and a satisfactory ipod soundtrack (including "Murder Train A-Coming" by Dethklok and "Skimbleshanks the Railway Cat" but not including "The Gambler" or "Midnight Train to Georgia.") My book was equally appropriate (Ghost Train to the Eastern Star by Paul Theroux.)

I can confidently say that I am in love with trains.

I also have a few pictures to share from my adventures in Cambodia. The staff photographer hasn't had the chance to upload her pictures yet, but these give the general idea.

Woke up at 4 am to get this:

I felt ickily colonial on this part of the trip. It was very National Geographic.

Elephant convoy at the gate to Angkor Thom:

Expect more and better pictures when I'm not at an Internet cafe. It might be a week and a half, or just a few days, or maybe longer. I must soon acquire new flip flops though, before this pair rots off of my feet.

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