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Saturday, October 23, 2010


Express to Butterworh

The Thais have a way of using English that makes everything sound better than it really is. I used to stay in Jirapong Apartments. My 'apartment' was a single room with an attached bath and a balcony. But Jirapong Rooms doesn't sound quite so classy. There are often developments called Somethingorother Mansions. These 'mansions' are usually just normal bungalows. Once again, I'm sure you'd prefer to live in a mansion than a bungalow.

Recently I took the Bangkok Butterworth Express. Just to be sure, I checked the 'New Oxford American Dictionary' that came with my computer. It says that 'express' comes

from express train, so named because it served a particular destination without intermediate stops, reflecting an earlier sense of express [done or made for a special purpose,] later interpreted in the sense ‘rapid.’

Without immediate stops? Let me assure you that has nothing whatsoever to do with the Bangkok Butterworth Express. We stopped at every two-bit station between Bangkok and Butterworth. And once we crossed the border into Malaysia I noticed that we often pulled off onto a sideline to allow a freight train coming in the other direction to pass. At times we had to wait there on the sideline for some time. Perhaps the freight train was running late and no doubt it is more important than a mere express train.

And rapid? Let me assure you there was nothing speedy about the way this train moved between the two B cities.

But who am I to complain? I had a whole bunk bed to myself and it was comfortable. We got to Butterworth within two hours of the scheduled time and my friends who had offered to pick me up were still patiently waiting.

So, now I'm in Malaysia until my next express journey.

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