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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kanchanaburi by mister Alex

We arrived in Kanchanaburi in the evening, then decided to look at the tours, because miss Alex had told me how good the tours were close to Kanchanaburi. We decided on The Tiger Temple one afternoon and a full days tour visiting Erawan Falls and Hell Fire pass and a trip on the Death Railway.  There is a festival at the moment for the Kings birthday who I must say I feel like I’ve known him for years. There is a picture of him on every lamppost, every living room wall and even in one of the toilets in the bar I went to the other night. But due to this festival the Bridge Over The River Kwae is shut to the tours, but still open for the public to go to. Our first full day we took a walk from the guesthouse. Obviously hadn’t learnt our lesson from the other day when we tried to barter with the tuc tuc drivers about a price, this time miss Alex asked a tuc tuc driver how far it was to walk and he replied 2km. Miss Alex turned to me as if she knew better than him and muttered “rubbish, come on were walking, it’s a ploy so we’ll jump in his tuc tuc ” so we walked!! I’ll tell you now it was deffo 2km and the rest, in full midday heat. But it was worth it when, just before the Bridge we came across a lady who had 2 tigers. One aged 2 months and the other 7 months.  She was offering us the chance to feed either of them, miss Alex s heart melted and fed the youngest. She loved it and there is a video that no one will ever get to see because looking at it now we look like proud parents of a brand new ball of fluff!! The Bridge Over The River Kwae was interesting to see and I feel like I’ve now seen an important symbol of the Second World War.

Tiger Temple was always going to be my favourite leg of this journey. It was an hours bus ride from our guest house and I was excited all the way. I couldn’t wait to meet these big wild cats face to face. Once the tigers awake from there afternoon snooze each day is a chance for 30 people to stay behind and take them for a short walk and then watch them play. Miss Alex very kindly let me do this as we had enough money only for one and there was only one spot left from the 30. Not once did I feel threatened by the tiger as I walked him. The barrier separating the tigers and us lucky 30 was a flimsy light metal frame about 4 foot high and I’m gonna be honest, if a tiger had woken up on the wrong side of the rock then he could very easily have made us his next delicious dinner!! But like I said earlier, not once did I feel threatened. It was an absolute privilege to be there watching them play together in the water.  As miss Alex said I do not believe for one second that these tigers are drugged in any way. Animal lovers from all over the world come here to volunteer they would not do this if they thought so. If any one reading this ever comes to Thailand, I urge them to go to Tiger Temple. It was my favourite moment so far.

Today was the full day trip, We went to Erawan Falls, Hell Fire Pass and had a short journey on the Death Railway. We had a full morning at the Falls. These are seven tiered waterfalls. Every picture we’ve taken looks like a postcard. The tour guide told us that the 7th tier was 2500m high, she mentioned to watch out for the wild attacking monkeys. So us being as competitive as we are, we rushed up to the top taking snaps of every other tier on the way up. We were not disappointed when we reached the top though. It was stunning. Fair play to miss Alex she was the first to get in the water, any apprehensions I had about getting in the water were soon gone as miss Alex belly dived in the water. I had to go in at that point and no sooner had i carefully got in the water waist deep, miss Alex starts screaming that there’s something clinging on to her foot. I had no choice now, as much as I wanted to get out I had to stay in the water, but she was right. There were fish in there, massive fish that have no teeth and suck on human skin. They cant bite and don’t really hurt but it’s a funny feeling when they are all over your legs. There is a myth that Chinese people love to take a great picture, well I can squash that myth right now. We had asked this lady with a face like she was chewing a wasp to take a pickie of miss Alex and me under the waterfall with the water splashing on our heads, she took the camera begrudgingly and took the 3 worst pictures ever!! You cant even make out me or miss Alex, so our dangerous stunt of climbing the waterfall and posing like we were Peter Andre and the timote girl was in vain.

The next trip on today’s tour was Hell Fire Pass. This is part of the railway that was built, as miss Alex said by the POW’s and the local thai people. 12,000 POW’s died making this train line from Burma to Thailand. The train line was for the Japanese to get troops and equipment to the front line quickly. Without being disrespectful, this wasn’t something to enjoy although it was very humbling to see, and once again I feel like I’ve just seen a major part of the Second World War.  The conditions that they were made to live and work in were horrific. The food was very basic and from the photograghs on show, the POW’s look very close to deaths door. The scenary around hell fire pass is stunning and would it not be for the tragic acts that were committed there it would be very peaceful palce, but I constantly felt a bit haunted. LEST WE FORGET RIP x

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