Sunday, June 1, 2008

Bangkok to Chiang Mai by train (Part II)

08:50 - 09:15 We have stopped again but it appears to be at some train yard where they appear to be repairing older equipment and rail cars. The sign calls this place "Bang Sue Junction". If I was a train hobbyist, this would probably be a fun place to wonder about in.

It also amazes me how difficult to get away from cellular phone's ringing and all those very loud conversations. Gotten use to it on the Skytrain but I guess I did have some type of fantasy of this being the "Orient Express" but that illusion is lost immediately with the ringing and musical renditions constantly be played.

Just before 9AM I start to see the massive concrete pilings of incomplete section of the Skytrain system. I have often wondered about this section and where it went. I lovely refer to is as the "road to nowhere" whenever I come upon it. It is amazing how massive the pilings are. They appear to parallel the tracks for some distance.

At 09:00 we stop at the Bang Khen (pronounced Bang Ken) rail station. If I had known this was a stop, I would have come here instead as it far closer to the apartment and the Ari BTS station than going to the main station downtown.

We than proceed past other stations with names such as Lak Si and arrive at Don Muang Station at 09:15.

09:15 Don Muang Train Station - Bangkok Airport's Train Station which is also the same name as the airport.

At this stop there is a large group of individuals that board the train. There are obviously the expected foreigners with their backpacks coming from the airport, a group of colorfully, clothed Monks, an assortment of Thais and soon the seats start to fill up but I appear to be left with an empty seat next to me.

You can see all types of facilities supporting the airport as well as the very large Amari Airport Hotel which is across the street from the train station.

09:20 - The 1st of several free meals and snacks
At this point we get served a free, breakfast meal/snack depending on your perspective. I think most Thais would call it a meal, most Americans a snack.

While eating my meal and enjoying some coffee, I start to notice the change in scenery outside. Actually starting to birds using the pools of water and the beginning of rice paddies.

At 09:50 we pass through the larger town of Ayutthaya and at 10:00 we come to a complete stop next to a large complex of the Italia/Thai Company. Appears we might be waiting for another gate to drop before moving forward.

10:30 - An abrupt stop and a long wait
In what seems like nowhere, the train comes to a rather abrupt halt and we set for the next 20 minutes. Funny as I look around and wonder if something has happened that there is nothing around us. Nothing. No people, no roads, no villages.

The train keeps "revving" its' engine up and than powering down and than doing the same thing over and over again. Without knowing what is going on, it is almost like we are "stuck". After 20 minutes of this very disconcerting process and noise, we start to move forward.

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