Well, a 2+ week hiatus has found me and my family floating through septic waters under the guise of a market; wandering the charming streets and balmy jungles of Chiang Mai; spending countless hours on trains, buses, and boats (whose real purposes– innocuous nighttime transport or human trafficking?– were not readily clear); catching and observing some rays (of the sun and sting varieties, respectively) on and around Koh Tao; cruising around on motorbikes (to various ends); and meeting tons of wonderful people (and one “wicked witch,” as it so happens). With consumption of the odd coconut and bottle of Leo beer as the thread that held the whole trip together, of course. It was a wonderful whirlwind of a half-month– my first encounter with my family in almost a year-and-a-half! And it will be coming to you in nice, bite-sized chunks because that’s all I’ll really have time or patience for in any giving sitting.
Our first installment is not very family-oriented at all, as it turns out. First I had to get to Bangkok, which I did via my first night train ever in Thailand! Personally I loved the experience. I spent 770 Baht (+/-$25) on an upper berth in a 2nd-class air-conditioned sleeper car that amazingly arrived right on time (trains are notorious for running hours late in Thailand). I’ll admit I wasn’t actually that excited for the unusual punctuality: we were celebrating the departure of our dear Papa Jahan as he headed back to Sweden, potentially only returning after I go back to the States, and I was hoping to have an extra hour or two with him. Still, I got to share a few farewell drinks with the ol’ chap and wish him all the best!
Wayne whisked me off to the station and we walked onto the platform just as the train was arriving. I was directed through the sea of pea-green curtains to my bed, which had already been set up, and wrote in my journal until I fell into a very deep and peaceful sleep.
Despite its arriving on-time somehow the train still managed to make it to Bangkok about an hour-and-a-half late. But that was fine; I spent the morning munching on mangosteen, reading The Jungle, and taking pictures (wondering the whole time, “Why doesn’t this camera have a ‘Train’ mode?!”, as only a few of the pictures actually amounted to anything.
I linked up with some other foreigners seated near me to split a cab to Khao San Road. I had a whole day to kill before my family arrived at almost 11 pm, and I figured Khao San was as good a place as any to do it. Grabbed some veggie lasagna at my favorite restaurant in Bangkok, Ethos, did a bit of shopping, got a massage, and then decided it was time to find my way to Sukhumvit. The bus was crowded and un-airconditioned, but I was to discover it was free and did not take the full hour someone had warned me that it would. No complaints this side!
I spent my afternoon reading by the hotel pool and scoping out some pizza for dinner. Then it was watching crime shows until the hour finally fell to head to the airport. Mom, Dad, and Ryan arrived without a hitch and despite the late hour were insistent on tracking down some street food and trying out their first Leo. Then it was time to get some shut-eye to make ready for their first full day in Thailand.