Overnight train from Bangkok

The Lounge.

And so here I am. Once again on the overnight train, in the lounge car, with beer in front of me, and true believers close at hand. There’s a strange sense of familiarity, of comradery in the air tonight, which makes absolutely no sense, as I’ve never been here before, and I don’t speak the language anyway. On the overnight express between Bangkok and Chang Mai, the train is equally divided between pale faced gap year kids, and honest Thai travelers; but here in the smoking lounge, I am the only American to be found. Which is how I prefer it anyway.

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.”

Trying to make sense of it all.

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.


6 responses to “Overnight train from Bangkok

  1. Sweet as, Sean. And ur blue jandals need a little duct tape, bro.

  2. PS – the Waterfront isn’t the same without u! …Same goes for Groove Kitchen 😉

  3. love this

    cant wait to read the book(s) that come from all of this life you’re out there living

  4. Rock on Mr. Sean Brown!

  5. I feel like I’m right there with ya. Heres to a god story (and more to come)!


  6. I am glad I wasted my night reading you! Gracias!

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