"I am a lie which is always telling the truth." This protrusion of Cocteau, how do not meditate, a bloody mary in a hand, face slapped by the heat, leaning to the observation deck of a train that is sinking into the Siamese jungle In the Eastern & Oriental Express, the dream precedes the reality. All ready to plunge back in the large colonial dream hours a time where you travelled with trunks, hats and time. Between EC train that iterates through the Thailand and that of Agatha Christie there is yet no report, otherwise a fabulous blink of an eye. Built at the Japan in 1972 and put into service in New Zealand, twenty-two cars of the star of money was redeemed by the English James Sherwood for a fantasy: Browse Southeast Asia as it might have done in the roaring twenties... If this train had existed! Noted: since 1993, the Eastern & Oriental Express through the region. Pullmann, marquetry, covered with Christofle, carpet Oriental drawings, porcelain from China, two wagons-restaurants, a car-library, two voitures-bars... all having been orchestrated by the French designer Gérard Gallet.
You tell me, can we really discover a country travelling in such luxury And how! It is very painful to return to the shores of the reality, after a week in this sumptuous parenthesis. For the all-new Epic Thailand circuit, the & Eastern Oriental Express winds during six days and some 2,600 km. Soon in the train, the forty elected members of this cruise realize that the word "service" seems to have been invented by the Siamese. Here, it outstrips desires, which is horribly based! Cabins comfortable and imaginative, the butlers who touch the door ("Would you like an afternoon tea"), fairly strict rules (most dinners are in formal follows and neckties are mandatory), a glorified atmosphere, smiles corner, trays which tinkled. This Orient - Express of the 21st century has a weakness of Swiss train. In our obsession with speed, slow is the preserve of luxury. In the evening, when it returned from dinner in little (the songs of the piano-bar combine pleasantly with echoes of the brandy) the seat turned into cosy bed, blinds are lowered, the planning of the next day is placed on the pillow.
Every day offers a new trip. Us that is first in a village of Ban Maichamuak, Isan, one of the least visited regions of the Thailand, to the North. After a fairly croquignolette Buddhist ceremony (where the villagers observe tourists with smiles of children before the rock to the monkey of a zoo), going from House to House, discovering how the Gypsy was born the headscarf. Because here is the silk. We proposed even taste just to boiled. Some have the courage to try, with a false clear smile. "It has the consistency of a bean," they say, not without green.
Then, en route to the school in the village: grimées as Jodie Foster in Bugsy Malone, girls of 4 years dancing with a dazzling sensuality. In the evening, we are led to the strange Khmer ruins of Prasat Sikhoraphum temple. While we take cocktails of litchis, a procession is shaking and wins the steps of the temple. In a chambard horses and elephants, it exhibits a Princess, as for a sacrifice.
The next day, after the visit of very poetic temple of Phanom Rung (the only inhabited by pigeons rusty ruins) and bats, the train is finally sinking in the jungle. The passage becomes dramatic. Cars are lost in the Green hell as a snake escaped under the bushes. Suddenly, a plant arises from the canopy. More strange: it is surrounded by a belt of high Golden Buddha which seem to protect it.
Who said "jungle" said "wild animals". Park of Mae Sa elephant are not of the fauves and a little are the Disneyland of the elephants. But play the mahouts, or see an animal painting with its proboscis is sufficiently rare that it only benefits not once in his life.
Subsequently, we visit Chiang Mai the proud; We go by horse-drawn carriage alleys of Lampang; We sautons on jeeps open gibbons and tigers in the huge Khao Yai national park. We enjoy even in situ the (very good!) syrah from the vineyard of GranMonte, côtes-du-Rhône accents. Since we are in the flavours, a confession. More than a simple trip tourism, this Epic Thailand is a real gastronomic cruise. That manages to make the Yannis Martineau (formed in Bocuse and Lenôtre) is not the challenge, but the prodigy. Prepare forty meals, twice a day, in the size of a Sanisette kitchens, it is actual arresting. As the treasures out of these shacks are real wonders: medallion of lobster Bacon, chicken massala and lemon risotto, blown from Santiago to the shellfish bisque, plays beef braised Asian herbs, confit duck leg and vegetables teppanyaki... it would just cite both the festival is impressive. And then the wines! Different at every meal, lovingly selected. Nothing to the table, one is prepared to repeat this journey in the East. And there is not question of lying; It is in the beautiful, the good, the true.