Call me Madam (maitressep) wrote,
Call me Madam

I started yesterday exhausted, the jet lag caught up with me and I didn't sleep all night. However, a pre-dawn breakfast of bacon, and custard steamed buns and multi-vit juice filled me up, and we commenced what was to be a very long day.

If you think London traffic is bad, think on. Bangkok takes 2 hours to get clear of, even with only 1 other hotel pick up. We were transferred from one very ordinary and non-executive van, to a worse one. It took us three and a half hours to travel the 130km to Kanchanaburi.

First stop was the British and Australian war graves. It was 24 hours post Remembrance, where ceremonies had been held, and the cemetery was beyond immaculate. Every single headstone was spotless and had a thriving plant either side. The cross was adorned with multiple poppy and fresh floral wreathes, from individuals and associations and even an Aussie MC club. We wandered the graves and I gave 2 minutes silence at both the British and Australian sides, in tears. These men didn't die from bombs or bullets, they died of overwork, torture or starvation. It's very, very humid there on the Burma-Thai border, it's hard to imagine how they worked in those conditions.

On to the Death (Jeath) museum, which is actually a messy collection of several other museums. Many artefacts of Japanese occupation remain, surrounded by hand drawn ceiling and wall frescoes done by local people. Most poignant for me were the 2 rather grand bamboo rocking chairs, sat on a pontoon over the river, overlooking the bridge. That's where the Japanese bosses sat. Part of the original bridge is there too, the current bridge is a replica.

Then on to the train to cross the river, and into the mixture of jungle, sugar cane fields, mountains and cassava plantations. It's a local train, and we purchased lunch, chicken and rice, from a old lady who was wandering up and down selling these home made goodies from a basket. 69p for a very tasty meal! You can buy all sorts on the train and it's a great little journey with amazing views.

After an hour and a half on the train, we were back on the bus and literally headed off into the middle of nowhere. Watching people work their fields in coolie hats, with the obligatory wild dogs wandering around. We were dropped off at another part of the river, on to a huge houseboat, half of which was a simple restaurant, and we were served a meal of chicken, rice and omelette. I rather liked it there. The black dude in our small group did not, as their dogs scared him, and he jumped up on to the bench whilst vociferously complaining about dogs being dirty and the boat people living in filthy conditions. They were not, it was merely "simple". He was extremely rude.

Lastly, a short trip to the waterfalls. I was delighted to see there were more locals there, picnicking with their gorgeous little kids, than tourists. Swimming in the pools and cascades at the top, paddling and chasing small fishes and crabs at the bottom.

It was there the Yank joined us. An LA hippy type, pony tail and designer sportswear. Ostensibly going to a friend's wedding on Kho Phi Phi. He was fine for the first couple of hours, but after that, complained non-stop and told us he had no colon. He would not shut up.

We arrived back at the hotel after a 14 hour trip, tired and grubby. We retired to our respective rooms and had baths and room service suppers. I slept like a log, and feel fresh this morning, rising with the sun.

Yesterday I wore a poppy dress and poppy hair accessory as my own little mark of respect for those perished during WWII in this part of the world. I was horribly over-tired, but armed with snackies and pep pills from Nix, determined to keep perky and absolutely no complaints from me. The bus was small and uncomfortable, it was a humid, sticky day, but I am glad I found and booked this day out. The dead deserve our respect. It's not all about 5* hotels, golden beaches and cheap shopping. If you miss the opportunity to do something like this, you're not learning.
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