Bill and Sue-On Hillman:
A 50-Year Musical Odyssey
HILLMAN INDOCHINA ADVENTURE
OVERNIGHT TRAIN TO CHIANG MAI
We boarded a city bus that took us from Wat Pho Temple back
to the Chinatown area. Beam directed us to a photo shop that did passport
photos. Allowed to smile and SO much better than the convict mug frowns
required on the Canadian passports. Cleaned up and went for the dim sum
lunch at Chyna again. Lime juice on ice and soda water was VERY refreshing.
Dad had two beers and they went down well.
Picked up our bags, gathered in the hotel lobby and trekked across to
Hua Lamphong Central Station to catch our overnight train north to Chiang
Mai. The station is connected by an underground passage to the MRT rapid
transit and to the street our hotel is on. It's a very busy station with
14 platforms and serves over 130 trains and approximately 60,000 passengers
each day. We were assigned to Car #3 which had eight sets of curtained
bunks with two toilets at the end - Western and squat.
We ordered supper on the train - soup, cashew chicken, duck in red curry,
and vegetarian platter. The meal turned out to be an hilarious experience.
Sue-On called it our Thai Costello Episode. The waiter was missing some
teeth and he wore thick glasses. He was juggling a tall stack of food orders
as he was propelled forward by the movement of the train. He desperately
made it to our table, quickly placed the stack down and HIS PANTS FELL
DOWN TO HIS ANKLES! Unfortunately, or fortunately, our neighbor across
the walkway had closed his curtains or he would have been mooned! Beam,
our guide, was the only other witness besides us. Sue-On was laughing so
hard she cried, and did so every time she tried to tell the story to the
other members of the group. Wish we had the camera out as it was something
you only see in the movies ;-) The waiter was a great sport and joined
in the fun. Later he even did a modified G-rated re-enactment with a jutting
bum pose for our camera.
Night comes very early in the tropics so before long the porter started
to make up the sleeper beds (he was also armed - these guys don't mess
around). He converted the benches and table into two-decker bunks -- Sue-On
bravely climbed up to the top bunk. The ride was smooth, we slept well
and at dawn we marvelled at the Thai farmland scenery. We felt quite safe
as a uniformed armed security guy patrolled the cars and obligingly posed
with us for pics.
Vans met us at the Chiang Mai station to transport us for early check-in
at the Park Hotel. We settled in, used WiFi, ate, and explored a bit --
the city is very clean. In the centre of Chiang Mai is the old walled city...
remnants of the walls and a moat are still in evidence. Went to bed fairly
early as the two of us were booked for a jungle elephant ride in the morning.
Central Train Station - Accessible
by underground tunnel from the hotel area.
Another Dim Sum lunch at the
hotel's Chyna restaurant
Packed and ready to roll in
the Centra Hotel 12th Floor Lobby
Overnight train waiting at the
Porter ~ Beam ~ Sue-On
Clowning with the Railway Security
Enjoying RR diner food in rain
jackets ~ Super cool air conditioning
Beam and Sue-On break up watching
the waiter re-enact his "dropped trousers incident"
Morning Time - Sue-On the early
Approaching Chiang Mai and the
Shuttle van to the Park Hotel
Sue-On checks out our room
BANGKOK YESTERYEAR circa
3D Stereoview Cards from our
Vintage Card Collection
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