BYE B-KOK! The Journey to Chiang Mai
I know, I know. I've talked about Bangkok, and you're OVER it! I am also aware this was nearly 4 weeks ago but I still need to write about it. Right now, my biggest responsibility is to keep up with this god damn blog, which I am failing to do, and trying and avoid acquiring any more injuries (you'll have to wait to hear about this in the near* future). Life is weird.
*not a chance it will be anytime soon.
I had one more day in Bangkok, despite being very eager to move on (no Khao San Road, no more!! Let me sleeeeeeep!) Here's the thing though... sometimes when you neglect to plan in advance it can set you back a bit. I decided to travel north to Chiang Mai but unfortunately I missed the ticket. I mean, I literally could not book a train ticket because it was sold out. Dangit.
I walked around the city all afternoon and came across a really lovely park. Highlight: I watched a baby boy chase a petrified squirrel for awhile, and was so tempted to sit on this tree (below) despite the blatant instructions not to.
In the evening I was contemplating whether I should take a boat to Wat Arun, The Temple of Dawn, but then I noticed it was surrounded by really unattractive scaffolding (you know... not the attractive kind). Instead, I found a rooftop bar that had a great view of the temple from across the river. I treated myself to a ridiculously expensive cocktail #yolo and admired Wat Arun from a far as Wham! "Careless Whisper" played in the background. I've never felt more alone. No, no... Only joking! It was like a super sexy scene from an 80's film....
I had planned to go to bed at 10pm, have an easy one, and wake up super early to do my last day of exploring. You may be thinking, "I bet she didn't do this...". I DID THOUGH. Well, I TRIED. Apparently, I'm still jet-legged and get insane hunger pangs at 12am. SO... I got out of bed, scarfed down some street food, jumped back into bed. I was up until 3am listening to podcasts. At 4am everyone got back from the bars and the two girls staying next to my bunk decided it was perfectly acceptable to stay up talking and snap-chatting, or whatever the kids do these days, until they eventually left to get McDonalds breakfast at 6am. Cheers, assholes. You're legends. Look, I know this is the thing with staying in hostels that you need to suck up and get over but I AM GETTING OLD. Why didn't I tell them to shut the f up? I don't know... whatever, leave me aloneeeeeeee JEEZE.
So, I also decided to get up at 6am since there was no chance I was getting to sleep at this point. I walked over to my favourite cafe, Favour Cafe, YES, I continue to be a pretentious coffee drinker, then headed over to The Grand Palace to get my temple-seeing on. It was so impressive and massive and hot and crowded, and jesus, I was so tired. I'm glad I saw it though. I took some pics for your viewing pleasure.
My train was at 18:10 so I did a 7/11 run to get Oreos, Ritz, 9 year old croissants and a loaf of white bread because I don't know what the fuck I'm doing with my life. I jumped in a taxi and said "ROD-FAI!!!! Train station, I'm trying to get to the train station! QUICK". What I really love about myself is how I can be ready to go for ages but then I decide, "Nawwww, I better give myself JUST enough time so I can be fuelled with anxiety and dread at the thought of missing my train." My taxi driver was really funny (at least this is what I assumed, his english was very limited) BUT he was committed to getting me there on time. We were stuck in traffic for most of the journey and the driver bought some food from a guy selling bags of something edible in between the jammed cars. He passed me back a bag and told me to, "eat, eat". It was the sweetest thing a taxi driver has ever done for me. It tasted like some sort of chicken nugget and I have been dreaming and salivating about them ever since. NEVER say no to free food. I will most definitely regret saying that.
Long story short... I made it with 5 minutes to spare. I was running through the station then suddenly froze dead in my tracks, realizing mid-run the Royal Anthem was playing and everyone else was frozen. At first I thought I had entered some weird parallel universe like in the movies when you can stop time. I was so lucky for this delay, and also relieved I wasn't hallucinating. I hopped on the sleeper train and was pleasantly surprised to be sitting across from another backpacker, Ester. We chatted for awhile then a lady came around and aggressively made our seats into bunk beds. I was on the top bunk which made me a bit anxious because there were only 2 seat belt buckles strapped vertically as a barrier and I prefer sleeping on the floor like a cat. It was lovely though. I was overjoyed having downloaded new music and podcasts to listen to. It was thanks to Bon Iver's new album that tenderly serenaded me to sleep as I was gently rocked back and forth by the motion of the train. I should write a whole poem about it. I just WISH I had planned more wisely and brought balloon animals for the journey like the person across from me had done.
Next time I think I will spend the extra money on a bottom bunk though. Just a tip for fellow backpackers: The bottom bunk was larger and has a window and doesn't have a fluorescent light blinding you the entire night. Despite that, I actually had a great time.
A Haiku about my train journey
Climb up to my bunk
Sweet dreams on the sleeper train
Good morning Chiang Mai
* This blog post is not sponsored by Bon Iver but if someone could please contact their publicist for me that'd be great