Beads of sweat trickle down my forehead on a muggy night in Bangkok when I realize I'm late for the Eastern & Oriental Express train.
I've missed the shuttle from my hotel and my baggage bounces over the unevenly paved streets as I run to the station in a panic.
As I fly down the platform, my dress billows behind me.
I feel like a character in an old movie as I sprint for the train, but it's not Paris in the 1920s and I'm not chasing the love of my life.
Instead, I plan to be chasing back martinis as I journey through northeast Thailand's picturesque landscapes of rice paddy fields and lush hilltops, en route to Laos on this modern luxury train.
Flustered, I hop on seconds before the green and cream train toot-toots out of the station, and just as I imagined, it's as though I've landed in a bygone era.
Cherry-wood-walled corridors inlaid with deep-set maroon carpets pave the way to elm-burr paneled cabins, outfitted with floral-patterned furniture and adorned with veneers of rosewood marquetry and intricate inlays.
Flamingo pink and brass lampshades create warm, buttery hues inside cozy cabins.
Elegantly suited attendants pepper the corridors, ready to oblige your every need. In the distance, a bar piano tinkles Dixieland jazz.
Image Courtesy: Orient-Express Hotels (UK) Ltd
Text: Charmaine Noronha,Associated Press