Aug 16, 2000, Starting Off at the War CemeteryI woke to an incredible sunrise with the orange sky reflecting off the rice paddies and white egrets flying low along the water. Out the other side of the train above the palm trees I could see the full moon still shining brightly against the morning sky.
Morning also meant we were almost at our stop after and awful night’s sleep in a chair. So good to get our and stretch our legs. During our 2 hr. wait for the next train we saw the largest Buddhist monument in the world.
Then one more train on to Kanchanaburi. It's a bit touristy but since it’s the off season its pretty good. We’re at the CC Resort just out of town. We checked one other place tonight that the Lonely Planet said was popular and it was all white people and totally westernized. I’m so glad we’re not there! We did not take one of the floating rooms on the river but are just across the lawn in a cute room with bath.
We went for a walk, got drunk on beer, and saw the WWII cemetery. It made me cry – everyone from other countries and some so young. I like this place though. Okay, Steve’s bugging me again so I can’t write….
Aug 17, 2000, Riding Bikes Around KanchanaburiThis is great! I’m sitting in a funky wooden lounge chair on a bamboo raft veranda on the River Kwai. There’s so much to see in and around this town like museums, caves, waterfalls, etc. And of course – the bridge over the river, and the death railway where 16,000 POWs died making it as well as 100,000 – 150,000 local people!
We’re going to book a day tour for tomorrow where we’ll see some interesting stuff, ride an elephant for an hour, and ride a bamboo raft down the river. Yikes! The loud speed boats just made a bunch of waves and my relaxing little patio is going nuts! I really like it here. Maybe I can talk Steve into staying an extra night.
Aug 18, 2000, Awesome Day TourI’m lying in our little floating bamboo room listening to the rain and watching five geckos scamper across the ceiling eating up bugs. Hopefully they’ll make up for the holes in our mozzie net!
Our tour today was great. Cruised around by songthew (pickup truck with 2 benches and covered cage in back) in a somewhat unorganized manner. We went to a nice waterfall (Sai Yok Noi) and rode an elephant for an hour with the ‘driver’ sitting right on its head. We fed it bananas and it decided to steal an extra bunch from the table. A bit touristy, but still very different than anything you’d find at the fair.
Then we went to the Wong Badem Cave which I think is the best cave we’ve been to. Just us and a guy from the park with a lantern crawling through a dark cave with no path (hardly) – and a few wooden ladders. Close up and personal with stalagmites and stalactites. They are clear crystal inside even though they look like rocks! Saw some pretty flowers and vines.
Got picked up late so the guy hauled ass in the rain to catch the train on the Death Railway. Good ride but tons of tourists. We drank 5 beers! No, maybe 7. Ugh. Anyway, then we boarded (with a few Dutch folks) 2 tiny bamboo rafts and headed down river to our hotel. Had Pad Thai at our same restaurant, relaxed on our river patio and even jumped in the water in the dark just to cool down. Ha ha! A restaurant is floating by full of disco lights and Chinese tourists singing karaoke! I love it!
Aug 20, 2000, Love Our Floating Hotel RoomRelaxed on the river yesterday with our resident monitor lizard and tons of longtail speedboats jetting by. Had a one-hour Thai massage for $4! It was great. You can learn Thai massage in only 14 days at Wat Po in Bangkok. Hmm- maybe next time. The guy also told me about an elephant at Sai Yok Noi that will give you a back massage with its foot!
Last night we watched the Bridge Over the River Kwai movie at the very touristy No Name Bar. From what we’ve seen and learned here, I’d say the movie is a crock of shit. It made it seem like a holiday for the POWs and didn’t show the starvation, disease, beatings, torture, strenuous labor, horrible living conditions, maggots, or how they forced the sick people to work.