So I’ve finally left Bangkok, although had a nice relaxing last few days which we’re good fun.
I went on a Traditional Thai Massage course, was quite interesting to learn all the different techniques they use to twist and pull the client around. It’s not particularly the kind of massages I enjoy, or enjoyed giving, but was an experience none the less and I got a certificate! Although seeing as you can buy fake driving licenses/passports/diplomas on the streets of Bangkok, I’m not sure quite how legit it is!
Had a good chat with my tutor afterwards which was just as interesting as the massage course – a 40 year old divorcee who had a 55 year old boyfriend who lives on Merseyside. She spent the majority of time complaining that he never sends her any money – quite thought provoking.
On Sunday Brad and Rob (couple of mates from back home out here on holiday) turned up and we pretty much spent the next two days either sitting by the pool listening to music, playing cards or drinking – mostly all at the same time. Got taught “F**k the dealer” a drinking-card game Brad and Rob play – basically I was the dealer and I certainly got F**ked! All this with a bucket full of god knows what ended in me having an early night!
LADs - I cleary got screwed over, look how much bigger my bucket is compared with Brad and Robs!
On Tuesday I had to get up early to get a mini bus over to Kanchanaburi – at 7am that morning I decided staying out until 3am the night before probably wasn’t the best idea. Had the journey from hell, concentrated on breathing and not throwing up – thankfully everyone else on the mini bus could tell the state I was in and didn’t even attempt to make contact with me.
Was a shame once I got to Kanchanaburi – I only had until Thursday, and had loads I wanted to do and see. However the state I was in, I had no chance of doing anything on that Tuesday – arrived at my guest house and collapsed on the bed. Tried my best to get up in the afternoon, I made it to the hotel reception and had to turn round again and get in to bed.
Wednesday I was up nice and early, hired a moped from my guesthouse (hilarious episode in front of everyone having breakfast “Have you ridden a Scooter before?” – “Yes of course” followed with me making an incredibly juddery start and the lady screaming “Oh my god stop!” – eventually got the hang of it again in the end though). Went straight to the Allied war cemetery which houses just under 7,000 PoW’s who died during the building work of “Death-Railway”, of which half are British. The cemetery is kept in amazing condition, and was moving (as are all war cemeteries) to find so many soldiers aged as so young.
Part of the Cemetery:
Hopped over the road to the Railway museum, an incredible insight to all the history behind the organizing and building of the Thailand-Burma railway and the awful conditions PoW’s were put under. I found it very interesting to learn that of the 240,000 people who were forced to build the railway, only 60,000 were Allied PoW’s – the other 180,000 were Asian laborer’s. There were 16,000 Allied PoW deaths, but 90,000 Asian laborers were killed while building the railways. Huge statistics. The Allied PoW’s are well documented but you very rarely hear anything (even in the museum) about the Asian laborers – mainly due to the Japanese not documenting deaths of the laborers.
Got back on the moped and made my way down to the JEATH war museum (anagram of the 6 countries involved – Japan, England, American & Australia, Thailand, Holland), quite a basic museum which one of the monks from the neighboring temple runs. It’s full of photo’s and newspaper clippings about the railway and PoW’s – not all that much content, but the museum itself is a replica of the type of hut PoW’s would sleep in.
It was getting really hot after mid day, so speeding up North on the moped with the breeze going straight through me was well enjoyed. Got up to the WW2 Museum (just next to the Bridge (over the river Kwai), which is a mad museum full of the most random WW2 artifacts. Ranging from Japanese motorbikes, to clocks, to anchors – all randomly spread out across two floors. There’s some unfortunate translation within the text’s, including “the bodies of prisoners of war lay higgledy-piggledy beneath the bridge”.
View from the WW2 Museum looking out at the Bridge:
One of the walls of the museum has everything translated in to Japanese – which was done by Japanese school children who thought it was a shame that you had to read everything in either Thai or English. I find this particularly interesting, as it’s so important that people learn about these awful happenings, to prevent it from happening in the future. A saying rang in my ears (from my Pacific Venture outing back in 2004) “Forgive, but never forget”.
I then walked up the river to the bridge – a single track bridge which plays it’s part in the Bridge over the River Kwai film. It was sobering to walk across, all the way to the other side trying to imagine what it must have been like to build, although was quite surreal to have a Thai busker half way across the bridge trying his best to play Lady Gaga on a violin.
Me on the Bridge:
This pretty much rounded up my day of sightseeing in Kanchanabri, it was a shame I didn’t have time to catch the 2hour train up the railway (across the bridge) to find “HellFire Pass” (a strip which contained the largest rock cuttings for the railway – all done under awful conditions by PoW’s), or to visit some of the famous waterfalls nearby, but I’d had a wicked time anyway.
Retired nice and early that night – the guest house I stayed in was fantastic; the bar/restaurant served some of the best food I’ve had yet (especially the spring rolls), my room had a porch which looked out on to the river. Although there were loads of lizards, frogs and mosquitoes about which scared the hell out of me in my hungover’d state on the Tuesday night!
My little mate who lived in my bathroom:
View from my Porch at Pong Phen guest house:
Yesterday (Thursday), I got a bus back to Bangkok, then had to walk through a market (at mid day with all my stuff), and jumped on the Skytrain over to the airport. It was on the Skytrain that all of a sudden I felt my bladder bursting – spent the whole 30minute train journey shaking my legs looking like some crazy westerner. Finally got to the airport and ran around looking for a toilet – it is the first place I’ve ever been where they have the ladies toilet in one area and the gents toilets on a completely different floor, and yep, that’s right – I found the ladies first. Absolute nightmare running up stairs and allsorts and eventually found the gents. I walked out of that toilet with the biggest grin on my face ever!
Went to the check in desk with my ticket confirmation, a good half an hour before check in deadline (my flight was at 1:55pm). “Hello sir, did you buy this ticket yourself?”, “No, through an agency”, “Ahhh, I think we have a problem”.
Cut a long story short the agency I had paid hadn’t transferred the money to the airline. 45minutes later of frantic phone calls (to be fair I was actually smiling at one point – there’s worse things that could happen, and undoubtedly will happen while I’m away), and some attempts at chatting up the airhostess who hardly spoke any English, it was arranged that my original “ticket” be cancelled (which I’m getting a refund from the agency who have been really good with keeping in touch) and the airline would be happy for me to pay the same amount I paid the agency (rather than 3 time’s as much as I was originally quoted) and they’d let me check in and get on the flight. That was at 1:30pm – so I made a heroic run through the airport and managed to catch my flight down to Phuket.
Checked in to a nice little guesthouse right on the main strip of Patong and headed to a bar to meet up with Brad (whose Birthday it was) and Rob. Really good night life down here, better than Khao San Road in Bangkok – lots more clubs, although unfortunately a lot more lady-boys. Managed to get into a club which offered all you could drink for 2 hours – BOOM – managed to keep up with 1 drink and a couple of shots every 15minutes – mostly consisting of Vodka RedBulls. Next minute they’re banging out 90’s old school classic dance tunes and me and Brad are dancing our t*t’s off. Great night that was cut short about 4am (police – shut down all the clubs randomly), nice chilled out walk down to the beach and then finally got to bed.
Out in "Seduction" for Brad's Birthday:
Not too sure what the plan is for next few days/weeks – think us guys are going to move in to a 3 bed room in a nice hotel (cheaper than my budget guest house), and bum it around on the beach for a bit. Brad & Rob are spending the next week and a half here, not sure how long I’ll last!