Day 5: Leaving for the North

First task of the day was to arrange our train tickets to northern Thailand, but it had to be done in person since website info was not up to date. A short walk to the very modern and efficient Sky Train public transit then 25 minute ride and we were there. There are many "helpful" people who want to direct you to some business or agency they work for-not really a scam necessarily-but not what we needed then. 

Tickets bought for $1750 Bhat (25B = 1$CAD) and we just needed to be back 6 pm to board. 

Then to Grand Palace, built in 1782, in what is now downtown Bangkok. Sky train to the river, then ferry to the palace pier. Again so many "helpful" people with directions, or taxi, or Tuk Tuk, or long pants (there are strict rules about bare knees or shoulders in the palace and temples). It seems very counter-Canadian to ignore the polite "helpful" people. I still feel guilty!

After seeing and photographing nine million gold coloured Buddhas and fanciful figures depicting battLes over the millennia, six million Katy selfies and one Greg ice cream cone, (it is 35 C when overcast !), we headed back to the hotel to get our luggage and the train. 

Remember it was 25 minutes to get there? Not during rush hour gridlock in a Bangkok cab! 1:45 to get there well after our train had left. Hmm, there is a later train, can we exchange the tickets? No. Rats. Can we buy new ones? Yes. How much? 1750 Bhat. Geez that's now 3500 bhat, holy smokes!  Relax, says Kate. That still only works out to $140 CAD, or $70 per person.  For four tickets, including two we bought but didn't use? I marvel.   What am I whining about? We didn't have a hotel to pay for this night either!

We had enough time to nosh down some KFC before the train left for what turned into a 14 hour ride. Surprisingly, the second class tix got two spacious facing seats which two hours later folded up to two 3x6 foot bunks. the seats stayed that way from about 9 pm until 6 am. Then breakfast on the train, and arrival in Chiangmai late but before ten.

On the seats that fold into the bottom bunk of the night train to Chiang Mai

On the seats that fold into the bottom bunk of the night train to Chiang Mai

 

The shuttle driver met us then and took us to a market on the way to the treehouse lodges.  A market here however, is bit like a freak show of foods: pretty fruits that smell like garbage, pig heads, entrail delicacies, and if you can imagine, embryonic chicken! Looking like chicks a day before hatching, they are de-shelled, marinated on skewers, then grilled over coals: everything counter culture to a Toronto homie.

With Katy daringly waving the video camera in front of me, and despite being more than a bit grossed out, I bit off the head and ate it! It took about four bites to get through it and I had spit out some small bones and feathers, but at least it tasted good.  I'll stick to Canard Confit in the future if I have the choice of either.