A train and a bike

Chiang Mai Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 15 › view all entries

A train and a bike are the two things that stand out in my mind from the last 24 hours of being in Northern Thailand.

Sean, Patti and I took the train north from Bangkok. It was not Amtrak. We left Bangkok at 7:30 on Tuesday night and had a 12 hour trip ahead of us. This train was budget. No A/C (and Thailand is beyond hot), airplane style seating - only more...plastic, and no windows that open. We tried to sleep for the whole trip, but I woke up every 30 minutes to make sure my bag was still locked to my leg. Those were some of the longest 11 hours of my life.

However...however. Be not fooled, for there was a reason we took this particular train, at this particular time. The eleventh hour expires, and soon comes the sunrise. I wake up, on a crappy train, in Thailand, sweating and smelling to high heaven and there I am in the middle of the jungle. Amazing. It looked more like something out of Vietnam, with large ferns interspersed with rice paddies and small houses. I had read that the last hour of the night-train ride makes the first 11 hours, and it did by far. It was a sight to see and I'm very glad I took the train instead of a plane.

I spent all day yesterday exploring the Old City of Chiang Mai. It is very interesting for a day, but really only for that long. I was somewhat bored by the end of yesterday, and ended up just hanging out at a street cafe drinking a beer. After returning home I left to go out for the night and find new friends.

Ok so what does a bike have to do with this, and why the hell is the picture for this blog entry a scene from Easy Rider. It's not.

I took a tuk-tuk over to the bar area. After I had a few beers at a bar owned by a guy from Hawaii and after a few games a pool, I needed somewhere a little more "happening". So I decided to venture out to a place that I had read/heard about called "rooftop bar". It's supposed to be a backpacker's mecca because, well lets face it...why drink on the ground when you can drink on a roof? You know what I'm talking about. So I walked over to the East Gate of the Old Town which gives way to a large court yard.

And there she was. I thought someone had slipped something into my drink at the bar I'd just left. 

Shining like Las Vegas in the middle of the night in a sleepy backpacker's town at the heart of SouthEast Asia. A large white woman, probably weighing a deuce-and-a-half, wearing leather to the teeth, sitting on a Harley-Davidson with more lights than an airport runway, and more chrome than snoop-dawgs 24 inch rims. I couldn't believe my eyes, and the power to walk up to her was too much for me. In awe, much as Moses must have felt at the burning bush, I placed one foot in front of the other until I was there, in her presence, not more than a foot away. I looked at her, she looked at me. I looked at the confederate flag flipping softly in the warm summer breeze.

"Are you from America?"

And in a voice that only comes after years of abuse from Parliament cigarettes and Jack Daniels from the bottle, she stared me straight in the eye, with a fearsome enough glare to tame a lion, "Yeah, hunny. I am"

And she was gone. She rode off for the gate, and I was left to wonder how this had just happened. What power on this earth brought this woman to me, and what was the meaning. I stood there in the middle of the dark plaza, dumbfounded and lost.

If I leave Thailand with no other knowledge than to know that this woman exists, this country will have changed my life. I only hope that I might see her again when I have a camera on me. I have drawn the above diagram to convey the image I saw with my two eyes, but I fear it does not do the Biker-Lady justice. I've spent the last 2 hours in an internet cafe drawing the sketch, and writing this story. And it was worth the $0.76 I'm about to pay to let the world know my story.

-Chris

 

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Chiang Mai
photo by: Stevie_Wes