The beer is Chang, instead of Budweiser, and the landscape rolling past is that of dense jungle instead of North America’s never ending prairie, but in a sense, it’s exactly the same. One can smoke openly in the lounge here, instead of stealing sneaky puffs with Mexican girls from Chicago in the Amtrak bathroom. Though with a bit more foresight, I would have twisted up something a bit tastier than this crushed pack of Marlboro Lights. Such is life, and here’s to new experiences that feel the same. Here’s to now.
My Chucks are nowhere to be found tonight, replaced instead by beautifully ragged blue sandals. Blue sandals that have tramped all over the South Pacific and into Asia, sandals that now fit like a second layer of skin. Perhaps a third or fourth layer would be more accurate, as my calluses are thick and firm, another badge of honor from The Road. Something earned and never bought, something that says with a wink, “I’ve been at this for more than a minute.”
Jesus Christ, they just put Vanilla Ice on the overhead, and at a deafening volume no less. To consider this a work of fiction is to consider my imagination much more advanced than is the reality; fucking Vanilla Ice. Outstanding. With a nod and a smile, my man will bring me another excessively large beer in a brown bottle. Something cheap and domestic and strong. Though lit by a wonderfully horrible mass of strobbing, multicolored Christmas lights, the lounge is shrouded in the semi-dark of nighttime, tempered by a thick haze of cigarette smoke. And so, if the nod and smile don’t play, I resort to shouting, though always with a smile and a half-assed attempt at ‘please and thank you’ in Thai, which induces a round of hoots and cheers from the staff, and the cold beer comes quickly. Amtrak’s got nothing on the National Rail in the Kingdom of Thailand.
It’s only 9:24 in the pm on a Tuesday, or perhaps a Thursday, and the reasonable people in my 2nd class, air conditioned, sleeping cabin have already turned in for the night. I haven’t slept more than three hours the last two nights, yet I am feeling very alive at the moment. Nights like these cannot be wasted.
Nights like these should never be wasted.
I strongly believe the trick to enjoying life is to appreciate every random moment thrown your way. Tonight, the music is too loud, and the air is too thick, and yet…it’s perfect. If the overnight lounge car from Bangkok wasn’t so sweaty and loud, I’d feel somehow let down. Perhaps cheated of a story. Perhaps I should have gone to 3rd class? Wooden benches and crying children? But no, not tonight. Tonight is a dance party. Who can possibly know what could happen tonight. Two cuties of yet to be determined European origins have taken the booth across from mine. It’s almost too bumpy to type, and I’ve exchanged smiles twice with the dark haired pixie across the way, and so my friends, its time for me to bid you adieu.
Don’t waste tonight friends, not tonight, not any night, ever.