Journey to the unknown : Aranyaprathet
It had been almost 2 weeks in this wonderful (not unknown anymore) country. Every second seems to be getting me closer towards the end than to the start now. It was a weird feeling. To have started this trip off in worry, it was surprising I was more worried about the fact that trip going to end soon. Anyhow I was still in Chiang Rai and had a morning bus. I didnt have much to do so I just whiled away my time sleeping since and finding food. It almost felt like I was a hunter-gatherer when I had to go in search of some food that I would not mind eating.
I had a coffee and red bean bun. It turned out to be something sweet and I was not expecting that. The bus journey from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai was very usual. By now bus journies for me in Thailand had become usual. I knew my way around so I didnt have to be worried. On the way I looked up the trains to get to Bangkok from Chiang Mai since the next step was to go to Cambodia. All the trains were early evening so I was worried if i would be able to get a ticket or not. In india it was unthinkable to get ticket the same day on a train but here it was possible.
I got down at the bus station and hurried to the train station. Luckily there were a last few tickets still available for 5.30 PM train so I booked mine. Caught up with an ex-colleague at the train station itself and it was interesting talking about my team, my work. It felt another world all together. I had not realized how disconnected I was from my normal reality. I boarded the train a few minutes before it moved.
On the way I met this girl who was from Finland and traveling alone. We exchanged trip stories and she told me about this crazy island called Koh phangan. Seems like this place is an every-running party and absolutely crazy. Perhaps in another life I would even visit this but not on this trip for sure. The general idea of Finland I got from her was strict and depressing. I had dinner in the pantry car and slept early. I woke up around 8AM and the train was almost 2 hours late.
At the BKK station I inquired about getting to Aranyaprathet and there was one around 1PM. So I just got a ticket for 48 THB. It seemed to be too cheap to be true so I wondered what might be going on. Turns out it was a general train with no allocated seats. As soon as the train parked at platform, there was a rush to get a seat. I was lucky I found one. Now this was a different experience too.
As we moved through BKK, the train filled up at various stations and it was only after 4PM that the crowd started easing. On the journey I happened to notice this girl. I have absolutely no facts here but I am just hypothesizing based on my observations. She seemed to be a college student who had got on with books etc. After around 5PM she started getting a little busy. She went to the rest room for about 30 minutes and it seemed like she had almost taken a bath in there. Then she spent the next 1.5 hours making up herself a bit, taking a few pictures, then doing some changes, more pictures. It continued till around 7PM when she got down a couple of stops before Aranyaprathet. It was baffling to me! I estimate she took more than a 100 selfies. I mean are we as a human race reaching some crazy levels of narcissism? What the hell was she upto i wondered for long.
Meanwhile I found a hotel online for 300 THB. When i got there, it was some sort of a resort with individual room houses. And no one spoke any English. So with my signs and google translate, i managed to get the key. Just when I decided to go out and eat, it started raining and it seemed like everything close-by had closed down. So I came back with an ice cream. That was dinner for the night. Tomorrow I travel to another country so I just got some sleep while I could.
I dreamed about Cambodia and how it will be.