Micah: Unmitigated

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Of Monsters and Heroes and Men

November 25th, 2009 at 21:44

After one long bus trip, surviving Bangkok’s northern terminal, and then one shorter bus trip, I arrived at Kanchanaburi around 8am. Luckily, my floating raft room was available to accept this road weary vagabonder.

Tuesday: Began with a brief nap in the most comfortable bed I have had in the past 6 weeks. With 2 nights reserved, I settled in and rented a bike to explore stuff. First stop was a temple with caves, about a 1 hour big wheel ride south of town. An interesting site, that had several chambers with Buddha’s and some cool rock formations.

On the ride back to town, I stopped by the Chung Kai Allied War Cemetery. Resting place  to nearly 1,800 prisoners of war, who died while constructing a railroad bridge over Khwae Yai River for the Empire of Japan during World War II. Some of you may know the book/movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai” which tries to depict the brutal living conditions the workers endured.

My next stop though was the larger, main Allied War Cemetery, back in town. It contains the graves of 6,982 POWs, mostly British, Australian, Dutch and Canadians (The few Americans were repatriated). Japan needed a faster and safer way to get supplies to their troops in Burma, which they took control of to cut off China’s supply line. An estimated 160,000 people died during the railways construction, with the majority being Asian civilian workers.

Know as "Death Railway"

Known as "Death Railway"

I later stopped by the bridge museum and then biked down to see the Death Railway. A big tourist attraction, they were setting up for the light show they do this time of year. The center of the bridge was damaged by Allied bombing and has been reconstructed, with only the outer curved spans being original.

The somber afternoon ended with a view of the sunset from my back deck and a stroll through the night market for nourishment.

river

river

boat in water

boat in water

Wednesday: The much anticipated Erawan Waterfalls was on the agenda, and it did not disappoint. A 90 mintue bus ride away, in Erawan National Park, the falls contains 7 levels of  water tumbling over limestone. With a 1.6 km hike up to the 7th level, I was hoping to get away from the European speedos, but they were everywhere. After reaching the top, I made a goal of sampling each one on the way back down. The crystal clear water rolling over the colorful limestone boulders, made for some spectacular scenary. Enough words, let’s have a look at what I am talking about:

level #1

level #1

Level ?

Level ?

In the picture below: The hairy, buff, Eastern European looking man in the falls, is not me.

Level #3

Level #3

Level #5

Level #5

The water was spilling out before I got in

The water was spilling out before I got in

Proudest monkey

Proudest monkey

Although a bit challenging, I have enjoyed finding ways to take pictures of myself. In the picture above, I am imitating the monkeys that I saw near the top level. Except they were throwing things down at the tourist. Carp were the other one of God’s creatures that were prominent. They had an irritating habit of nipping at my legs which made swimming less fun. The only other disappointing thing about Erawan, a lack of clear sunshine spots to lounge in, everything else was amazing.

Another rewarding stop in another breathtaking part of Thailand. The city also reaffirmed a belief I have long held, “SE Asian women love me”. Case in point: just walking down the main street, groups of them standing outside empty bars are calling to me and asking where I am from. I was of course flattered and a little curious, but I found their behavior to be a bit too desperate. I think men and woman should meet in the more traditional way, on the day of their pre-arranged marriage.

Next Up: Meeting SalazMeyer in Bangkok on Friday. ถ้วย ของ ฉัน ทำงาน ผ่าน

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5 Responses to “Of Monsters and Heroes and Men”

  1. Mark Hoelter Says:

    I suppose we could arrange one of those….

  2. Miriam Hoelter Says:

    I love the falls. Must have been fun! We’ll miss you tomorrow. Love to you – Mom

  3. H2 Says:

    Jackson says “Happy Thanksgiving Uncle Micah” … at least that is what assume all of the grunting meant.

  4. H1 Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving from the Salem Hoelter’s! We’re in Union, thinking of you, and all of your SE Asian female friends…

  5. H4 Says:

    Happy Thanksgiving H3 – what kind of dowry do you think you can get for that prearranged ceremony? Perhaps a goat to begin your own WWOOFing ranch?

    Can you find a place to watch the Civil War game next week – 9am friday for you…