I expected much worse on the windy return ride to Chiangmai, but thankfully slept through most of it. I hadn’t eaten since the previous day and feebly managed to munch a slice of toast at a breakfast spot across the street from the train station.

We had a few hours to kill before the overnight express to Bangkok departed, so grabbed a tuk-tuk to the Warorot (Kad Luang) indoor market and paid a final visit to Ole Mexican Restaurant. When we returned to the train, I was still feeling poorly and curled up on the bottom seat for a nap while our car slowly began to fill with other passengers.

At 8:10 PM, the train lurched forward and we started our journey through the outskirts of Chiangmai, catching glimpses of laundry gently swaying below open windows, women balancing groceries on the handlebars of their mopeds, children enthusiastically jockeying for a soccer ball in a dusty, dirt field. The sun, low and red in the distance, cast long shadows across the landscape as apartments gave way to lonely huts surrounded by lush green fields.

At promptly 9:00 PM, the stewardess of our particular train car began preparing the impressively comfortable sleeping arrangements. After watching an incredibly bad, yet entertaining movie—Your Highness—I retreated to my lofty bed and fell asleep to an episode of Great British Castles, dreaming of our future travels in Europe.