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Monday, October 10, 2005


Slow death

The trip from Penang to Bangkok was interesting. These countries do have high speed urban transport systems at least in their capital cities. In Bangkok, KL and Singapore I have travelled on trains that are as good or better than anything I've travelled on in Oz. I'm not sure if they've got into high speed long-distance trains yet. My Butterworth-Bangkok trip was probably not as slow as I believe the long-distance trains are in Cambodia but I would certainly not call it fast. In fact, this one would stop from time to time in the middle of nowhere. I am sure there was a reason but I don't know what it was. At other times it would travel extremely slowly.

We had crossed the border into Thailand and travelled on for about half an hour when it seemed to stop for quite a long time. Eventually it started moving slowly backward. I was in the back carriage. Next the carriage was crawling with cops. They all went to the back of the carriage and were looking out of the back of the train. For what? I did not know. They were all speaking Thai—way beyond my comprehension level. And then they saw it. The train stopped and they all climbed down. I couldn't see it so I still didn't know what it was but eventually word went around. It was a body. The train had apparently hit someone and killed them. I don't know how this happened. We were in the middle of nowhere. There was no crossing. No village or town. Just bushes. There were some cattle grazing. I wondered if perhaps this person was a cowherd. But what were they doing on the track? Didn't they see the train coming? The whistle blew often enough. Didn't they hear that? I never discovered the answers. That's as much of the story as I know.

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