The Bridge Over The River Kwai

Trip Start Jan 16, 2006
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Thailand  ,
Thursday, May 10, 2007

So I write out of order (if you read this right away... If you don't I may have caught up with myself. So there you go - incentive to delay reading about my wonderful adventures. Don't even try, we both know you couldn't last!).

I'm in Kanchanaburi. " But how did you end up there?" I hear the cries from the gathering masses.
Erm good question. But I'm glad I am here.

The idea got put in my head by some Canadian girl I was chatting to (begrudgingly) in Chiang Mai a few weeks back. The night I had my famous Pool Killer victory. Out of order I told you! Then my Mum left on Sunday and I had no plans and 9 days to kill til I fly to Cambodia. Not enough time to go to the Southern Islands really, and thought it might be interesting here with all the Bridge Over the River Kwai stuff. And I was right. It is.

So as my Mum was packing up her things after breakfast I, in true chivalrous style, with no ulterior motive, enquired as to whether a young lady looking at her Lying Planet (please dont' sue me, please don't sue me) was ok. She needed help and so I, being the saint, gentleman and all round good guy helped her with her troubles. Which led to us meeting up in the afternoon. Took Mum to the airport, came back, went for a swim (was staying in a posh hotel you see. Thankyou Mummykins!) and went walking round Bangkok all afternoon. Got drunk that night after watching Man U win the league by Arsenal drawing with Chelsea, woke up still drunk and decided I was going on a mini bus to Kanchanaburi. There you are... that's how I got here. Crap story huh?

So... Kanchanaburi, what hast thou to offer?

It's a really cool, really chilled out place with all the Japanese WWII POW stuff. Those of you who have The Bridge Over The River Kwai, starring Sir Alec Guinness (R.I.P), will know the general thing of what went on. Basically the Japanese decided they weren't content with only living on one (or is it 2? Or more even?) overcrowded (now) island(s), wanted not just a bit more space, but they wanted ALL the space. So they took over most of South East Asia, with the help of a lot of French-esque laying down and surrendering by a few countries (naming no names Thailand).

To attack India and China better they wanted a railroad through Thailand to Burma to carry troops and supplies. So they built one. Using mainly English and Aussie POWs, along with Burmese and Indian workers. Conditions were atrocious, guards were violent, and many many prisoners died of malnutrition, disease and beatings.

Part of the trainline was over the River Kwai and thus required a bridge. Hence the film "The Bridge over..."

And there you go. All thoroughly bored you may return to work. But at least you (may have) learned something.

So I have one more day here then heading back to Bangkok which, right now doesn't excite me too much, but I do get a new stamp in my passport cos I'm going to Bangkok to fly to Cambodia. Woo hoo. Travelling for 16 months (I know huh!) and I've been to 4 countries! and one of them was 3 times for pretty much stopovers. But at least I have the stamp.

When I arrived i was knackered and hungover so it was always gonna be a quiet day. Wen over to the POW cemetery which did little but upset me, the melancholy and slightly hangover-depressive mood I was in not helped too much by this. It was really nice there, but pretty sad. Each grave has the age on, as per normal, but most of them were younger than me and died under pretty shitty circumstances.

So the day I went for a nice walk! Started off in the Tailand-Burma Railway museum, which is a really good museum, run by a western historian fella I believe. Thought I'd get my history under my belt (to quote lying planet) before I went to the bridge. The I went to the bridge. Quite a walk I tell you. Walked across the bridge, and a train came while I was on it. Thought it was gonna be a bit of a Stand By Me scenario, me being the fat kid obviously, but there were places to stand at the side so I was quite safe. Wandered over to the place the POW camp was, but didn't seem to find anything about it, or that it was even there. Maybe I was in completely the wrong place?!?

And today I went on the railway line from Kanchanaburi to Nam Tok near the Burmese border. This was pretty cool, specially as you go over a lot of the original line, the so-called "Death Railway" which was built by the POWs.

Wandered around, and found a cliff with a hole halfway up it and, randomly enough, a golden buddha in the hole. So clearly I thought "I have to go up there, how cool is that!" So I did. And it was.

And here I am, a little tired, a little hungry, and a little long winded in my writing. So 'tis here I shall leave you my dear fellows. (can you tell I've been reading Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy and stuff recently?)

Huge love to all x
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Comments

kariniscool
kariniscool on

MARC!!!
heh sounds like you are having a blast and evening edumacating yourself! heh good on ya! xox karin

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