I think that this journey to Ayutthaya from Chang Mai has been the craziest yet. Let me start off with the surprise of the actual train. It wasn’t air conditioned and clean with privacy like the first train we had. Instead, it was loud and dirty and when the beds folded out they were covered with bugs and you had people brushing past your curtains constantly. That was surprise #1.
Surprise #2 was the meat in my vegetarian meal. Which was really not a nice surprise at all. You would think when you order something specifically vegetarian, you wouldn’t need to worry about meat! But, apparently in Thailand this is just a common occurrence. What happened was I received a soup with what I thought was bean curd so naturally I just inhaled it. But it was really pork, I soon learned when I decided to chew. At the time I really was not okay with this happening, but now I can look back on this with appreciation because I learnt a lot from this experience. And spiritually I think that I made a huge step. It’s incredible how much your mind can physically alter you. Immediately I realized that it was pork, and immediately I felt extremely sick to my stomach. Now, obviously after being vegetarian for only four months there is no way that my body ACTUALLY was sick because of the meat, but it was surprising to feel so so sick by this. I know for the sure the weeks previous pig slaughter didn’t help me out here, but it was also surprising that I was able to actually make a connection between the meat that I ate and the soul/spirit/animal. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had many conversations about vegetarianism with the other vegetarians on this trip, and I think that this experience, as terrible and upsetting as it was, was a huge step for me. Greg mentioned that it was also good that I learnt early on in the trip that ‘vegetarian’ in these asian countries do not mean ‘no meat’, and that was very evident when I was discussing this with the man who served me! When I said to him there was meat in it, his response was ‘yes, only a little bit!’ I also experienced a lack of sympathy for this when he asked me if I wanted more! There is no chance I will be eating pork again, and very little chance of me eating meat again (Sorry mom!), and from now on I will be extra cautious about what I order!
And surprise #3 was the change in vehicles at two in the morning! Just as I had fallen asleep one of the train attendants came running through our cart shouting at us to get off! Apparently there was an accident on the railway and we needed to get off to catch a bus! So with some of us half asleep, and some of us slightly intoxicated, we gathered our stuff as quickly as we could and ran off and through the station to the buses! We finally got on the bus and NONE of us were very happy about this change. These seats were so tiny and it was so crowded and uncomfortable, and the washroom was not in service either! And of course there was a cat meowing the entire ride. The train was looking pretty darn good at this point! At one point in the early early hours of the morning we stopped for a washroom break and Joel, Patrick and I ran out to take advantage of this while everyone else was asleep, and I was coming out of the washroom the bus was driving away! I ran and caught it in time, and when I got on Patrick hasn’t boarded it either yet!!! Have I mentioned that Thailand is crazy yet? What an experience.