Trip Start Oct 21, 2010
Trip End Dec 09, 2010

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Where I stayed
aran garden 2

Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, October 23, 2010

 I am disheveled. I am disarray. I am disaster. I am dismay. I am devastation.
 I am digging. I am overcoming. I will win.

I was exhausted towards the late afternoon of day one but pushed through in order to try and reset my clock a bit. I make it to maybe 8:30 p.m. and become a sweaty rock of sleep until around 2a.m. at which point I'm wide-awake… thinking, pondering, planning. Tossing and turning I fail to achieve anything but futile eye lid rest until I finally just get up at 4a.m.

Not able to sleep but definitely not rested, I fuss around on the computer downstairs in the lobby. I email and call home to confirm my health is intact, never mind my mind. Just to put it into context, it’s over 80 degrees already with heaping dose of humidity. My friend Caty who lives here is with me for just the first week, and as she only has a week and I promised we’d get to a few places in Cambodia there is no rest or recuperation period. No acclimation… there’s only the train we have to catch at 1:05 p.m. sharp! So from about 4a.m. till noon I wander the streets and kill time running errands, getting breakfast etc… Time creeps but in this retelling we have the luxury of fast forwarding to the train station.

It’s hot and crowded, but we manage to get our tickets just fine and have some time to get a meal at a stand of sorts. I’m suspect, so I get a really basic soup with noodles and a couple vegetables mixed in. It looks greats but I find some interesting tidbits in the meal. The temperature seems hot enough to kill anything that might do damage. I’m hungry so I consume.

Fast forward again, we’re on the train platform as our 3rd class only train arrives. No assigned seating, no a.c., no known comforts… and every local knows this. As the train slowly creeps in, mobs form and pace the moving doors waiting for the moment they open. I am a shell of my former self but I know what I must do. Madness ensues; people scramble and squeeze through the doors quickly commandeering any available seat. I hold my ground and squeeze through, miraculously snaking a seat from old women and children. I can’t be bothered with courtesy, the train trip is 6 hours and this is survival mode. It’s not pretty and I’m not proud, but I’m honest.  I wrap my collection of bags around me like a big blanket in a sauna and wait for the trip to start. But it doesn’t. Not for maybe 30 minutes. This is when I lose my cool.

My intestines begin to argue with my stomach and neither is winning, they are only losing, at my expense. In an instant both orifices demand attention. My mouth is watering with impending doom, but dare I say mild compared to the destruction threatened below. I am soaking in sweat, borderline delirious, swallowing copious amounts of saliva, and my sphincter is clamped so tight my whole buttocks region starts shrinking in on itself like an imploding star creating the blackest of holes. I literally plead for mercy.  "Please body, just give me this train trip and you can explode all you like at the next guesthouse. I’ll lie in the fetal position as you do your worst, just please not here, not now!" As an anxious person to begin with my old friend panic attack says hello. The anxiety peaks as the doors finally close and now my only option is to stick whatever hole takes precedence out of the open train window and release if completely necessary. I take deep breaths, I find my happy place, I take action. Don’t fixate on the problems. Do what you can to find a solution.

This has been my own personal torment aside from Caty who is trying to comfort me. “Please give me something quick!” I figure vomiting out the window is preferable to the alternative so I grab the Imodium and think happy thoughts. I continue clenching and focus on breathing. At this point it’s just a minute-by-minute ordeal. No tomorrow, no yesterday, just the present. Moments continue to pass until I feel the turmoil below slightly dissolve and relax. About an hour into the trip I am only left with nausea which still sucks but comparatively I’d take it any day. I continue sipping water and breathing through a scarf, which for some reason helps... go figure. Eventually this too passes and I can begin to enjoy the journey somewhat.

Turns out all the locals get on in Bangkok and trickle off more and more as we go, so by say hour 4 it’s not too cramped and I can actually stand up, get some fresh air between train cars, and shoot some photos of beautiful landscape I was previously missing.

We reach the border, select a guesthouse, and I gingerly eat some rice.
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