Welcome to our Travel Journal -- Round The World 2004-2005 travel blog

A well-used Deisel engine, having just received his written orders from the...

The carraige windows are open.

The carraiges are bright, with fans on the ceiling -- they are...

This is a modern and clean station.

There is one of these bells at each station -- 3 bells...

Darlen bought me a specail hat in Luang Prabang.

The rail crossings and gates are varied.

THere is something special about standing on the tracks behind a departing...

Many flowers and good maintenance at each station.

A green flag from a well dressed and attentive stationmaster.

We saw many of these beautiful beast by the train.

Would you like some barbecued chicken -- the whole chicken, flattened.

The smoked flavour is delicious -- but you will need to buy...

Food vendors along the train - friendly and helpful; we felt we...

Just motion to her, and she will bring you some water --...

On tunnel on the entire trip.

Then we arrived at this reservior -- very much alive, and very...

A beautiful bridge and a happy place, was this -- water makes...

We left Vientiane by Tuk Tuk, and took the train to Bangkok. The carriages on the train we took were not air conditioned, and we traveled for 12 hours with the windows open. We were able to see, hear, feel, smell, and taste this county. It was an amazing transition, from flat parched farmland, to beautiful hills, to rice crops along a reservoir, to the hot sticky crowded streets of Bangkok. When we embarked on this trip, the nature of Nick's journeys on the train became clear to me. Nick, in my opinion, is an incurable Romantic - born 75 years too late.

This train is alive. Regular Thai's use these trains. The railway employs many people. There is at least a uniformed policeman and a station attendant at each station, and multiple ones on the train. Food vendors do very well serving the passengers.

The food on this train is better than I have had on any other - fresh, tasty, and ethnic. I thought that we would end up stopping for more than a few minutes to get food at some places, but we never did. We enjoyed a continuous cavalcade of food from vendors that joined the train for small segments. There were multiple types of barbecued chicken, sticky rice, steamed rice with meat and eggs, and may other dishes, especially around meal times. No dry hamburgers, stale coffee, or overpriced pre-made sandwiches on this trip!

We also had the opportunity to taste the land - all we needed to do was open our mouth at the time the train threw up some dust, when our coach passed through a grassfire next to the tracks, or after a person flushed the toilet onto the tracks two cars ahead.

The stations are very well cared for, and there are flower pots and trees that adorn the side of the tracks approaching each station. Although the tracks, in some parts seem a little overgrown, it is not from a lack of train traffic. We saw a number of passenger trains along the way.

This was a unique trip for us, in many ways - the carriages are only a monument to history in our country, and they are used every day in Thailand. The trains are much more entertaining and comfortable than the bus. On the bus, people consistently pull the curtains over the windows to sleep or to block out the sun. On the train, watching the water buffalo, the rice farms, the vendors, and the stations through a panorama of the entire side of the train - was spectacular.

This trip was wearing, and we both felt were covered in dust when we arrived in Bangkok. Frequently, our eyes were smarting, from the grass burning next to the tracks, but it did not last. The memories we will have forever.

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