|The train station in Chumphon, Thailand.|
It’s almost 8 am on January 11th and I’m fed – a meal of chicken soup, coffee and juice - my berth is made up and I’ve got a few hours to kill on the train to Malaysia.
I boarded last night at 10:45 to a sleeper car fully made up and most of the passengers either asleep or trying to reach that state. I noisily settled in. To me, it seemed as everything I touched crackled. It took about 15 minutes to find the right placement for my duffle bag – at my feet – and fish out the overnight necessities like bottled water. Then I settled back as the train began to move.
|The aisle from my berth.|
I have to admit that being inside my little berth was a lot like when I used to make “forts” out of blankets draped over kitchen chairs. The feeling of childish joy was intense.
The rattle and sway was not what I’d expected. It was louder and the movement was from side to side rather than the up and down I’d imagined. Just as the rhythm seemed perfect and I’d snuggled in under the comfortable terry blanket provided, I heard “Ticket, please.” It startled me. I found a train conductor peeking at me through a crack in my privacy curtains. I stuttered out a reply and undid all my nesting to find the ticket, lodged safely in my passport.
That was my last interruption before sleep took me. After all, I had had quite a day of anticipation. And it was a restful slumber, too. I heard and saw the lights of the stations we didn’t stop at and those we did, but none of it disturbed me. I managed to continue sleeping, even waking myself up with a loud snore at one point. (Probably too much information, but that’s how I roll!)
|Inside my berth|
This morning, roosters of a different kind than I’d become accustomed to in Chumphon, began to crow at around 5:30 a.m. A group of Asian gents sat perched on their berths chatting away. I know because I peeked out at them around my curtain. Most everyone else was still hunkered down though, so I rolled over and snoozed for another hour.
Ah, as I write this we are being told the board crossing is coming up in ten minutes. That means packing this laptop up, gathering my bags and dragging them through Thailand’s exit process and Malaysia’s entrance procedure. See you soon!
Ok, I’m back – an hour later. It’s almost 9 a.m. and we arrive at my stop – Butterworth, Malaysia – at around1:30 p.m., so I have a little time to relax, enjoy the ride and hopefully get a little more writing done.
|Train station in Malaysia|
Update! My train got into Butterworth 3 hours early! Nice surprise.
Before I go, I want to share these thoughts with you. While this sleeper train ride hasn’t been quite the romantic romp I’d imagined as a kid, it HAS been so much fun and so worth the time. I’m not in a hurry in my travels so I’m going to go by train again before I leave SE Asia. Hopefully I’ll manage a sleeper train ride again. Maybe I’ll see you on the rails!
|The same aisle during the day! Other direction though.|