Kanchanaburi Travel Blog› entry 11 of 49 › view all entries
May 7th, 2006 – by: umbralwalker
Today I took a pilgrimage in honor of my father and brother. Growing up I remember Steve and Dad sitting in the dining room, the table there covered in maps and little cardboard pieces. Sometimes these little pieces would stay there for days. When I was older I would come to understand that it was a game called Squad Leader, based on events that took place during World War II.
I also remember on Saturday or Sunday afternoons watching classic movies with Dad; The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, and The Bridge Over the River Kwai. It's funny that I don't remember very much of the movie itself, but the image of that bridge has been tucked into my memory for years.
We came to Kanchanaburi for other reasons--Erawan Waterfall mostly--but when I realized we were actually staying in a bungalow on the River Kwai, those memories started to surface again. A quick shuffle through the Lonely Planet guide not only confirmed that this was 'the' River Kwai, but that the bridge was only 500m from where we were staying.
So in one way, the pilgrimage was a short one. In another, it took a lifetime.
Enjoy the pictures guys. I love you very much and think of you often, even half a world away.
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May 7th, 2006 – by: umbralwalker
Really hot today. Have taken multiple showers to cool off. Brain's a little fried.
On the 5th Megan and I took a taxi to the Tiger Monastery. Several years ago a young tiger cub that was supposed to be killed and stuffed survived the botched surgery. The cub was taken to the monks of this monastery to be rehabilitated. Over time other animals, including more tiger cubs, were brought here and the place has become a wildlife sanctuary.
The amount of money required to maintain the numerous tigers here is offset by having tourists come to visit them. Volunteers and a team of handlers help to keep the facility and the visitors safe. It is amazing to me how well the facility works; you would never see a place like this in the states.
Yesterday we went to the place that brought us to Kanchanaburi, the Erawan Falls. The seven-tiered Falls are located in the Erawan National Park; Erawan being the three headed elephant of the god Brahma. This weekend was a national holiday for Thailand so the park was as packed as any amusement park in the states. Several of the tiers have pools large enough for scores of swimmers. The entrance area had dozens of food vendors selling traditional Thai food, sodas, water and ice cream. Everyone was very friendly and we had a great time.
All of the places we've been to have involved some pretty wacky drivers. Obviously, traffic laws here are a little different than in the states.Yes, they drive on the other side of the road, but they are also quite fond of passing in unique and compromising circumstances. Luckily they have the "Magic Horn". Honk the Magic Horn button and nothing can happen to you. As long as you have your offering placed on your Buddhist alter located on your dashboard.
The exception is the scooter of course, as it has no dashboard. Buddha looks favoribly on these vehicles though, and only the magic horn is required for safety while passing between two large buses going opposite directions on a narrow road. It is advisable as well to carry your youngest family member strapped somewhere to the scooter.
In all seriousness, though the locals here drive in ways we just plain don't, I have yet to see a single accident. We need some magic horns in the states.