Eastern & Orient Express (Brad A. Johnson)
The best way to experience the true soul of a place is to arrive by train. I’m reminded of this after spending several days aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express and disembarking my posh Pullman car at the dirty, chaotic platform of downtown Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong station at the height of rush hour. My senses are instantly thrust into overload. Train whistles are blowing at nearly all the 20 or so platforms. People are shouting, laughing, scrambling for luggage, rushing to climb aboard one train or another. Cars waiting in the street are honking incessantly. A chicken runs underfoot, feathers flying. A dozen young monks in bright orange robes shuffle through the station in a parallel but silent world. “Where is my valet,” I’m wondering?