Not even in Amsterdam or Colorado could you ever take bong hits with the train conductor while they’re on the job conducting the train in transit. On a sleeper #train ride from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, I had that very unique experience by chance with Mister Thai.
Travelogue Date: October 9, 2013
On the way back to #Bangkok from Chiang Mai for the second time, I met a train conductor taking bong hits while in transit. Chiang Mai is a small #city located in the mountains about 700 kilometers north of Bangkok. The train takes 12 – 16 hours and is an amazing #experience in itself.
Priced about the same as a cheap airport meal, the ride is like a moving tourist attraction but in a good way. The long distance Thailand rail is the most chilled out and enjoyable system that I have ridden and this time made it the most notable.
After a week in Chiang Mai with fellow vagabond Jonny, we got on the train in the afternoon and headed back to the capital. A couple of hours into the journey, I bumped into the train conductor while taking photos of the landscape as I was between train cars. He came out to smoke a cigarette despite the large “Smoking Prohibited” sign right in front of his face.
After flicking the cigarette butt out the train, he looked at me as he put his hand to his mouth with the index finger and thumb touching (universal pot smoking sign) and asked…
“Do you do the Bob Marley?”
Confused and slightly shocked, it took me a second to figure out what he meant so then I nodded. He smiled and asked my name then introduced himself as “Mister Thai”. Just a step behind us was his private office that he opened and invited me in as he chucklingly said “lets get highed up John!”. How could I say no?
The first thing he does is reach into a desk drawer and takes out a homemade bong made from a plastic Coke bottle, places it on the desk then shows off his fresh stash of greens in a brown paper bag. I put my face into the bag and took a whiff of the sticky buds as I pulled out my iPhone 5 to ask him if I could film our escapade.
Without hesitation or reservation, Mister Thai answers “Yeah, yeah no problem, but no Facebook.” Then he started packing the bowl.
Primo bud smoke rapidly hot boxed the train conductor’s office as I looked outside the beautiful moving landscape of rural Thailand. I felt a new kind of wonder and euphoria because of this bizarre #experience that very few people have ever done, let alone thought of doing.
This is why I travel the world.
To experience new things.
The skies started to turn orange with the sun fading, our stomaches got the munchies so Mister Thai and I stumbled through 3 train cars to the cafeteria carriage which felt like hours.
Without asking me, he ordered a bunch of snacks and a couple of Chang Beers free of charge. We sat at a table and started pigging out and quenching our cotton mouths as the cool but humid wind from the window hit our faces. This is how to travel by train.
It’s days like these that make traveling the world as a lifestyle one of the most rewarding and enlightening life experiences.
JOHN V CAIN //
Vagabond, entrepreneur and traveler. Founder and editor of VINJABOND.