Bill and Sue-On Hillman: A 50-Year Musical Odyssey
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HILLMAN INDOCHINA ADVENTURE

PAGE SIX:
OVERNIGHT TRAIN TO CHIANG MAI
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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 station


Porter ~ Beam ~ Sue-On


Clowning with the Railway Security Officer


Bangkok Outskirts



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 riser


Approaching Chiang Mai and the Railway Station

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Shuttle van to the Park Hotel


Sue-On checks out our room


BANGKOK YESTERYEAR circa 1900
3D Stereoview Cards from our Vintage Card Collection
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Bill and Sue-On Hillman
hillmans@wcgwave.ca