Our last day in Chiang Mai snuck up faster than we expected. We started the day at a travel center booking our elephant trek in Mae Rim. We assumed we would have plenty of time to grab dinner with Melissa and Daytona, pack our bags and catch an overnight train to Ayutthaya. But things never go as planned, which is the beautiful and terrible thing about travel. The only overnight train left at 5pm and it was already noon. Considering the fact that our elephant trek was an hour away, we were in a serious time crunch. (What’s new?)
I wish we had done more research on elephant treks in Chiang Mai. Oftentimes the elephants are mistreated and end up at rehabilitation farms like Elephant Nature Park where you can visit and volunteer to help. We were in a rush and took the first thing that came our way, crossing our fingers it was a “good” farm. The trek through the jungle was cool, but I spent the whole time just praying our guide wouldn’t use the stick with the sharp metal hook on our cute little elephant. He didn’t (thank God), but I secretly wondered if we had ended up at one of the bad farms. Looking back, I wish we had gone to Elephant Nature Park. It would have been way cooler to just play with the elephants in the water. Seriously, look at this picture. Elephants are angelic (and smart).
We made it to the train station with enough time to grab snacks from the 7-Eleven and burgers from the restaurant next door. Now, I’m not much of a “cheeseburger girl,” but after 2.5 weeks of straight Thai food it was like Christmas morning to see that greasy deliciousness in front of me. And omg… it tasted better than it looked. Radu and Mike were still stuck on spring rolls (how were they not sick of those??), and got two boxes to-go for the train ride. Food babies and spring rolls in tow, we found our seats on the train just in time. We popped a few beers to celebrate our good fortune. Fist pump! I’m really getting the hang of this backpacking thing!
Turns out, my mini-celebration came too soon, since my stomach started feeling a little queasy about an hour into the ride. I’m assuming most of you haven’t ridden on a Thai overnight train before, but I would compare it to riding a bull. The amount of jostling, screeching and bouncing is unreal. I couldn’t picture a worse place to be sick. I was pretty miserable, curled up on the seat trying my best to hold that darn cheeseburger down. Let’s just say I spent the night with my head in the toilet. “Toilet” = hole in the floor that let out to the train tracks. Sorry to be graphic, but I want to document this low point so that I can fully appreciate the next time I travel without getting sick. To my friends and family who warned me about Thai food and its side effects (and who I ignored), you win this round.