Anthology of Thai short Stories
They entered the railway station and turned left towards the ticketing booths. Above
there was an electronic display of all of the departing and arriving trains, times and
platform numbers. There departing platform was to be number 8.
“Do you know Sarah, trains leave here for all parts of Thailand – Yala in the far south
and both North and North-East Thailand, Central…everywhere. Guess how many
platforms there are?”
“Percy – I haven’t got a clue.”
“There are 14 platforms!”
“Listen Sarah, I have an idea. I spotted a KFC by the entrance. Why don’t you have a
cup of coffee and stock us up on snacks to eat on board the train. I want to have a look
Sarah was only too happy to oblige. She had a thick holiday book to read and the last
thing that she wanted to do was to trudge all over the station. Percy walked with Sarah to
the restaurant and parked her and their back-packs there as well as the mini-suitcase that
Sarah had insisted on bringing, full of their valuables, her ‘war-paint’ and lady things.
First of all he climbed the steps to the mezzanine and looked into all of the fast food
vendors and travel shops. Then, back downstairs to find Platform 8. He walked through
the gates of the platform and stood facing a portrait of the King which was lit with radiant
light from the windows high on the ceiling of the station.
The train was actually waiting at the platform. At the rear of the train was a General
Electric diesel electric locomotive. Percy seemed to recall that these engines packed a
punch of 2860 horsepower. He started to walk to the front of the train and count the
carriages. Third Class, Second Class and then First Class. Percy lost count half way down
the train and decided to board to find their carriage and seats. He passed a restaurant car.
(Hmm... perhaps better than cold KFC chicken!) and opened the door to the toilet in the
second class cabin.
Ummm, he thought ... Perhaps better to direct her to the ones in the first class
He looked at his watch 17:45 - fifteen minutes to go before departure. Just enough
time to go and collect Sarah and their luggage.
The seats on board the train were arranged with two single seats on each side of the
aisle. Later, the two facing seats would be made up into upper and lower sleeping berths.
Percy settled back into the seat facing the direction of travel with Sarah opposite. Their
bags were in the space between theirs and the two seats behind. Suddenly the train gave a
lurch and started forward. Percy jumped to his feet, pulled aside the mosquito screen and