A battered diesel pulled a string of old cars. No air conditioning, no fans. Just every window open. The train reached a good speed on the flat and open (or is seemed so on the uneven tracks), but wisely slowed for bridges and narrow passages along the river below. Stopping frequently, it doubled as a school bus as it ran first through sugar cane and corn then later papaya plantations. One person enjoyed the ride even more than we; an elderly gentleman with a tooth challenged grin who would stare out the window with wonder then turn around and excitedly tell what he saw. He did not seem to mind that we could not understand a word. When he would stretch far out the window we did worry about his balance in the pitching car or the chance of a passing limb. At the end of the train ride was an interesting waterfall. We followed up stream to its source, a hole at the base of a high ridge. We then flagged a bus and zipped back to Kanchanaburi.
This is a good point to mention something of bathrooms. Bathrooms are often small and made of concrete and tile with a drain in the floor. The design includes a raised threshold at the door just in case things get out of hand. In hotels a hand held shower head clips to one wall and if there was hot water it comes from a wall mounted heater. The traditional toilet consists of a hole in the floor with foot pads on either side. Sometimes the toilet is raised. Within reach you often find a hand sprayer like you have on your kitchen sink. In any case they include a large basin or can of water with a scoop for flushing and when the sprayer was missing. I am sure this arrangement works quite well with a little practice, but thankfully most hotels and tourist areas have the sit on system more familiar to us, as they did in Angkor Park complete with a sign indicating not to stand on the seat. All this leads up to the Kanchanaburi bus station bathrooms - the most elaborate public bathrooms we used. At the end of the building, a desk fronts the bathroom doors. There an attendant collects 3 Baht. You take off your shoes then put on one of the many pairs of flip flops they had lined up. Inside your have your choice of the traditional toilet or the Western style without the flush tank but with the big can of water and a scoop.
This time we took a bus back to the Northern station and arrived in time to go out one last time for a spectacular meal with Eric and Annie.
The flying back was not as painful except for the air traffic delay in Japan that left us with minutes to reach our next flight. We worried as we rushed down the jet way almost missing the suited young man holding a sign with our names on it. “Follow me” and we did at a very fast clip past all the shops, through security, under countless signs to our gate area that led only to other long hallways. He looked increasingly concerned; we were almost running until we reached the counter where we snatched up our waiting boarding passes, dashed to the gate and into our seats just as the doors were closing.