It’s the beginning of May and the day’s hot and humid. Noon just passed as I embarked on a long train journey from Bangkok to the rural north of Thailand, the so-called land of smile. On the train, an attractive young, carefree-looking German lady which, after self introductions, became my interviewee reasoned that travelling to Thailand was a pleasure. “There’s a variety of delicious foods, travel expenses are cheap, people are friendly and it’s relatively safe compared to its neighbors”. As a person who spends most of the time in Thailand, I find blessings in those comments. At least, the tourism industry is still not plagued by the disease of political turmoil.
After 6 hours and 490 kilometers on the tracks, I said goodbye to the train as it departed for the next station, slowly crawled its way further north in loud clanking noises. The scene must be more than familiar to those who live along the tracks as the train has done the exact same thing, travelling with more or less the same speed and producing the same sounds for more than 3 decades.