Day 10 - Night Train

Trip Start Dec 17, 2007
Trip End Feb 14, 2008

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

It was another moving day (or days). But first, I packed and went to the post office as I had too much stuff and I really didn't need my sweatshirt so I decided to mail a box home. So I went to the post office and ended up that I needed two boxes. I probably should have just sent one box home as it turned out to be kind of expensive. Then it was down the street to have breakfast (with flies).

After breakfast, I headed to the travel agent to pick up my train ticket and then wait to be picked up to be taken to the Surrant Thani train station over 200 kilometers away. The transportation was late and it wasn't clear how I was getting there. Finally 45 minutes later, a van shows up and we then drive around picking up other passengers until the van was packed full. OK, it was going to a cramp ride I was thinking. But we drove to the company's bus depot where everyone got out and we registered where we were going. After 30 minutes, we climbed onto a bus and I sat up front so I could have a good view. I also could see the driver and the instrument panel and noticed the speedometer was broken. The driver also had the radio blasting Thai music which was distracting. Finally we were off.

I was amazed about how few people lived in the area as there were more tree plantations and the land was relatively flat. Coming from Japan where every square meter of flat ground was used for development or rice farming, seeing thousands of square kilometers being used for low intensity agriculture was shocking to me.

After three hours, we arrived at the company's bus depot near Surrant Thani which was way out of town. Most of the passengers transfered to other buses to go to other locations. I met some Canadians who were also going by train so company called in a truck and we all piled in the back with a family (from Poland?) with our bags for the journey to the train station that took 30 minutes.

The station was full of shops and people and it was lay-ed out like Yonago station where when you walk through the gate, there is track 1 and to get to track 2 and 3 you have to cross the track (there was also a fence between track 1 and track 2). My train was coming up from the south so I thought I would just wait on the platform but the station man said my car was waiting on track 3 as they were adding two cars to the end of the train. So I climbed on to Car 16 and I had seat number 1 which was the seat closes to the back of the train. It was also the top bunk. The aisle runs down the middle of the train and there are seats on both sides. The seats come in pairs facing each other. When it comes to bed time, the seats are folded down to former the lower bunk while the top bunk folds out of the ceiling. Compared to the Sunrise Izumo, the Thai night train is older and there are more people. But the Thai train cost about 20% of the price of the Japanese train. I had Thai ekiben of curry served on plates (the curry was too hot) and then they made the beds and I climbed up to my bed. I read for awhile and then went to sleep. The bed was narrow and the air conditioning was on high so I wished I wore my sweat pants and a sweatshirt but it was better than riding a bus. I dreamed that I was riding a train in Beijing.
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