Friday, December 14, 2007

Part III - Muak Lek, Supanburi & Kanchanaburi

To read Part 1, Part II, Part IV, Part V
Day 3 -
8 Dec 2007, Saturday (Kanchanaburi)

We checked out of the hotel and headed to the Kanchanaburi War Cemetery. Joel took a lot of effort reading through the tombstones and commented there was a Gen. who died there.

Walking through the cemetery has an air of sadness. There was a Thailand-Burma Railway Centre Museum, Joel wanted to go after breakfast. Since it was just beside the cemetery, I agreed.

No cameras were allowed there, so, we could not take any photos.

Going through the museum, which detailed the sufferings, death and pain of the PoWs (Prisoner of Wars) was a very sad moment for me and I know, it was for Joel too. Realizing how cheap life was treated and the cruelty of human beings. At one point, I had to choke back tears. "God, what have we done? How can we do this to each other?"

When we sat in the car going towards our next destination, I had a chat with Joel, it was apparent that he had made the effort to read almost all of the exhibit and was sadden by what he read. He summarised his readings to me... And both of us had a silent moment just to allow what we discovered sink-in.

The bridge of River Kwai

After that, we headed towards the famous Bridge of River Kwai. It looks different during the daytime compared to last night. It was a normal looking bridge. Nothing extraordinary, nothing grand. It is the history behind the bridge that makes a vast difference. It was very hot and sunny when we arrived. We took a quick walk from one end of the bridge to the other. There were also many visitors doing the same thing. Just outside the bridge, there were many stalls selling things. It’s a common sight in Thailand. Everywhere you go, there will be people selling food, clothes, decorations and etc. I guess that’s why Thailand is a shopper’s heaven.

Mung Sing Historical Park

Next destination is Mung Sing Historical Park. I found the whole place a different world. It didn’t seem like Thailand to me, more like Australia or some other European country in Autumn. This is how Thailand looks like in winter. I felt as if I traveled into another world. The buildings here are not typical of Thai building as well. Therefore, the nature and building complements each other and therefore, my feelings of being in another place. It’s a very special feeling.

The toilet

Riverkwai Cabin

We traveled towards Riverkwai Cabin. Its an accommodation with choices of boathouse on the river, chalets and camping. We chose camping even though in actual fact, we didn’t have a choice. It was fully booked. We ventured on this holiday wanting to camp. It cost B250 per adult and B200 per child. So, it cost us B700 for all of us inclusive of breakfast. The children was very excited that we have decided to call this place home, for the night anyway.

Joel helped to put up the tent and camp bed, almost single handedly, with a little help from Ethaniel. He has been a great source of help throughout the trip especially by putting up the tent and later packing it up. I know he prefers to be playing and running around, but he knows that I would not be able to cope without his help. His ability to know his responsibility vs play at a time like this was crucial for me and I was very proud of him. He was playing the role of ‘the man’ for this trip.

The view was incredible. Apparently, this part of the railway are the ones originally built by the PoWs. The only remaining railway on stilts.

The Unforgettable Adventure

Siew Har and I decided to take a 30 mins walk from this end of the railway to the other i.e. Tham Kra Sae station. We made a hasty walk because it was already 5.30pm and the train is scheduled at 6pm. If we are caught in the middle of the track when the train comes, we would be meeting our Maker earlier than planned.

We arrived at Tham Kra Sae station on foot a few minutes before 6pm. Upon arrival, we realized that the train was not going towards the direction of our hotel but instead coming from the direction of our hotel. This means, we have to wait for the train to pass and walk back to the hotel (The original plan was to board the train back to the hotel). It was already getting dark and the train was obviously late. We just didn’t know how late. The later it takes, the darker it gets. It will not be possible for us to walk on the railway track pitch dark. The station was a very quiet and lonely place. Except for a few vendors and a family waiting for the train, it was absolutely deserted.

We tried to find a few ways to return… maybe via boat, taking the train to the next station and request Tang to pick us up, etc. At last, there was a lady with motorcycle who was willing to take us back to the hotel for B50 per person. Relieved, both of us boarded onto the motorcycle. We didn’t realize that it was a 14km journey. The lady rider told us not to be afraid. She spoke in Thai and Siew Har understood her. She conveyed the information and that was when we started getting afraid! Later, Siew Har admitted that her imaginations went wild. She thought the lady was going to abduct us! Ha ha. I would think young Thai girls would be worth more than us!

We did arrive back to Riverkwai Cabin, in one piece but it was a pretty unforgettable adventure undertaken by two homemakers – who’s idea of adventure was limited to trying new cooking recipes. BTW, the train passed at about 7.30pm, just as we arrived back to our hotel ;-/

Do you see the pale looking faces?

Can you imagine our 3 large bottoms fitting into that tiny space?

More coming up in my blog - Part IV.

Check out my online album for this trip.

No comments: