I arranged with a Krishna devotee, with whom I`d been sharing a room with at the Penang Temple Centre, for a lift to the train station, about 15 minutes away. I waited around at the Temple at 12 noon, as arranged. At 12.15pm, as he was nowhere to be seen, I put Plan B into action.
One thing I have learned is that there is always a way out of a problem. And to have a plan B is a very good idea.
With my bags I walked to the taxi rank in the old town and got in a taxi. The one hour or so wait for the train at the station turned into 3 hours as the train was late. I finally boarded at around 4pm.
On board the train I met a pleasant young guy from Korea who now lives in Bangkok. He had the seat opposite to me and would take the top bunk as I had booked the lower, wider bunk, for a few ringgit more. I shot some video footage of the passing countryside and towns as we traveled along which I`ll edit and turn into a presentable video sometime soon.
Although the sleeper train is fairly comfortable, and certainly much more comfortable than a lot of the beds I`ve been sleeping on in Malaysia in the last few weeks, only I could have been blessed with the compartment above the wheels of the train which were not exactly round. My body jolted through the night as the wheels below sped over the minute gaps/joints in the rails of the track. I felt every one of them. Actually, I guess it must have been the track not the wheels as the journey became somewhat smoother as the journey unfolded.
I awoke early on Sunday morning, not with a bad back but with a sore throat. It progressively became a little worse and turned into a runny nose and a few aches as the day continued. Only I could return to the UK from a hot and steamy tropical country with what amounts to a cold.
The train arrived in Bangkok at just after noon on Sunday. I spent the day exploring a little of the city but mainly sat in street bars, drank a few lagers, ate a few Thai snacks and watched the world go by. I met a young lady, a delightful 24 year old, called Kook, who I chatted to with difficulty because her English was not very good. In retrospect I really should learn a little of the language of the countries I wish to visit. I did understand what the words 'Bum Bum' mean`t though and so, when she mentioned these words I then knew that what I`d read about some of the wonderful ladies of Bangkok was true.
Did I contemplate Bum Bum with this beautiful Thai lady? Whether it went any further or not is for me to know and for you to guess. Later I bought her a drink in the street bar we were in before I said goodbye and she disappeared into the hot Bangkok afternoon. (Imagine a cutaway to ocean waves in an old movie).
Later that afternoon I even tried a Tuk Tuk but was ripped off. The journey from the train station into the area of the city I chose to visit, about a 10 minute ride, cost 75 Baht (around £1.50) in a taxi. I returned to the train station before going to the airport that evening as I had left my big rucksack in the luggage locker as I didn`t want to carry it around the city. I returned by Tuk Tuk, just for the experience and paid 300 Baht (around £6). My own fault though as I should have barted with the driver.
The flight from Bangkok to Dubia was pretty non eventful as I slept for most of it as I was feeling pretty rough because of my sore throat and runny nose. I`d perked up a bit on the next flight, a few hours later from Dubia back to the UK and again appreciated the wonderful service of the Emirates crew where nothing is too much trouble for them.
For an international airport, Newcastle airport is a pretty depressing place after you`ve experienced the wonderful airports of Bangkok and Dubia. And the cold of North East England certainly took me by surprise as I stood, shivering in my shorts, on the platform at Newcastle Central Rail Station waiting for my train back to Darlington. I guess I should`ve been more suitably attired for this final leg of the journey but I couldn`t remember which compartment and in which bag I`d put my warmer clothes.
My friend Gill welcomed me back at her home in Darlington with some nice home made hot vegetable soup and a couple of night nurse pills for my cold.
Please watch out for more of my Malaysian video`s coming soon.
Next stop... Back to SE Asia in about 4 or 5 weeks time as the adventures of the mature adventure traveler continue.