Friday, April 29, 2011

From Hua Hin to Bangkok

The old train station in Hua Hin, restored.

We spent a morning at the beach in Hua Hin, making an effort not to get too sunburned.  After a shower, we packed up and checked out of our hotel.  The train back to Bangkok was scheduled to leave at 2:10 pm, so we decided to stop at a bookstore, get some lunch, and then meander slowly to the train station.  We did just that.  Once at the train station, we discovered the train was delayed, and was not expected to depart until 3:30 pm.  So we bought our tickets, found a small cafe and ordered cold drinks.  Waiting.  Drank our cold drinks.  Waiting.  Decided that the cafe was hotter than the outside air and walked back to the train station.  We found a spot in the shade where every now and then a breeze would cool us off.  I settled into some quality people-watching.  Sometimes, I get so absorbed with watching that I forget to take photos.  So I missed a photograph of an old monk lighting a cigarette.  The younger monk with him smiled a sweet smile at me, and I found myself wishing I could paint his portrait.  Women are not supposed to sit near monks, nor are we to touch them or their belongings.  I don't know why.  We also got to watch a photo shoot with two young Thais, a young woman and a young man.  They were wearing bright yellow t-shirts that said "I'm so happy."  I did everything I could not to be in any of the photographs.  There was even MORE waiting.  3:30 pm came and went.  The train ended up being about 1 hour and 50 minutes late. 
Waiting on the pink train.
Non, tippy seats on the sunny side of the train.

At long last we were underway again.  This time, we were wise enough to look out for tippy seats like the one I sat on for the journey out.  We also made a concerted effort to sit on the shaded side of the train.  Everything played out like a reverse of the day before: uniformed ticket puncher.  (click, click)  Drink and food vendors.  Landscape and scenery whipping past.  Stops at small train stations.  Etc.  Here are some of the things I saw:
A huge patch of lotus flowers.

You would think with all this green, the cows would be fat.  ???  I have yet to see a fat cow in Thailand.

Green and more green.

Cars waiting for the train.  I felt compelled to wave at all of them.
The young food vendor we bought spicy noodles from.  He did not get on the train.

There were a few things we passed too quickly for me to photograph.  One was monkeys that M pointed out to me.  I didn't see them until the last minute, and then I had the wrong lens on my camera.  I am also quite certain I saw a couple of alligators, swimming in water.  There is some debate about what it really was.  I had my eyes peeled for more, and I am pretty sure I saw another on the return trip.  It was dark by the time we reached Bangkok, and the glittering wats (temples) were beautiful in the dark night.  The return trip didn't only leave late, but it also took nearly one hour longer than the journey out.  It was fun, but we arrived exhausted, and of course sweaty and dirty.  We are back in the bustling, steaming Bangkok.  I will be here for a few more days, and then I have the long airplane ride to look forward to.  Hang in there, Pono - I am coming home soon!!!!


Bonnie Kopp said...

Love that train station, but miss you - c'mon back soon!

Marjorie said...

It is strange that the cows are so skinny. Perhaps it's the result of eating grass instead of all the corn, grain, supplements, etc. that American cows get in feedlots.

The pink train traveling through the green countryside must have been a sight to see.

Carla Sonheim said...

Hi Karine!! So fun to see these pics... say hi to Mattias!!


Cynthia Anderson said...

It's been fun to follow your adventures on the other side of the world!