Turntable tales Nº 4

‘Let sleeping dogs lie’

If you like to stay a little longer on the station foreground do have a look at the catering. This service on board went down rapidly since the privatization of that business and the entrepreneurs eager to make the most of it in terms of money but not quality. Anyway, who wants his soup coming in small waves just within or over the edge of the bowl while riding on a train? Men’s love always goes through the mouth. On the road – Thanon Rot Fai – parallel to the station, one can find some convenient stores, the 7 eleven’s who changed the economy to a 24 hour one, although during the deep dark hours on this spot, they won’t have many traveling costumers. At night the station sleeps, the tracks are idle; only a stray dog finds his way around. No trains on the yard either, so for a chance ‘he’, fully aware being a male dog, could not find a nice seat, second class near the open window and barking loud if someone tries to chase him away. A fair chance this would not happen at all.
A walk towards Saraphi, the first station on a long way to Bangkok, along the track near the road mentioned before. At the end – or so you wish: the beginning – there’s a solid concrete ramp. Anyone familiar with the Dutch meaning of this word would understand this is not the case, however… (Translated it means disaster)
For unloading military vehicles only as once have seen. Tanks rolling to the boarder – piggyback on a lorry – near Mae Sai when skirmishes brake out between the regular Burmese army and the so called Shan State militias who strive for independency or other kind of freedom.
Further down the track there are some warehouses, remarkably quiet on a Sunday, just the way I like it, although the vividness on a workday is more what they are for. The commodities of live, the hard stuff, like bags of cement, pipes and planks.
I even spotted goods cars brimful with coconuts and unloaded with the hand by throwing them one by one in the open end of a pick-up truck. Overloaded, so when leaving the scene almost scratching with the downwards-bending car body on the pavement. TIT – this is Thailand – one can always enjoy it.

Nuts about shunting

Where the tracks of the yard come together and form the mainline, on the corner of the San Na Luang Road, there’s a busy crossing, moreover since a new road to Lamphun was opened. A road also parallel on the railway but on the left side in Bangkok direction. The other outer track is an ‘oily’ one and leads to a depot of the PTT (Petroleum Thai). Here, once I encountered the scene of bewildered poor, who rushed to a pull out empty train and collecting in small buckets the few drops fuel still leaking from the valves.
A big tree – holy and home of a spirit – stands tall beside the track short before the fenced entrance of the depot itself. On her roots a graveyard grows for broken or abandoned spirit houses and things alike. What looks like a heap of rubble, is foremost sacralised and obviously could not carried away to a real garbage dump.
It makes the ghost swing, a joy for this belief, the ultimate proof that Buddha’s thoughts go hand in hand with animism.
Recently the whole railway land as far as this spot was provided with a more than man’s height fence so all the paraphernalia in bits and pieces are designated to rest in peace and can been seen through the net. The material they made of hardly decays, for years to come it will be there, no body dares to touch it let alone remove. Some spirits are obviously bound to rail, a better place they couldn’t wish but I wonder if they are really happy with the donated debris.

Sting of the spirit

About Robert von Hirschhorn

Author / Performer or in Dutch: schrijver / dichter
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