Tigers, tattoos and turnips!!!!!

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
Trip End Sep 29, 2006

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kanchanaburi is a nice place! Small, leafy and fairly quiet:) other than the party barges which seem to decend at no particular time and for no particular duration. The quality of the music is pretty perdictable tho! Its a nice place to waste a few days waiting for the India visa to come through in Bangkok.And theres even a few things to do.For some reason you wont see the tiger temple listed in the last LP SE Asia.Im not sure why. Its the coolest thing to do here. Many people will already know about the tiger temple. Its been on discovery channel and last week we read a report about it in TIME magazine...so its no secret. Some years ago, a buddist temple was approached by locals who had found a tiger cub, orphaned and dying.(the result of poaching)the monks agreed to take it in and care for it.Unfortunately the first cub they were brought only lived a few months, it had been injured by a local man starting to preserve it for stuffing. He had injected it with chemicals to kill and preserve tissue, then made incisions in to the cubs stomach to prepare it for the final 'stuffing'. But the cub didnt die and it was 'somehow' rescued.It survived a few months. Later the monks were brought more cubs...again from the poaching industry. These survived and there are a total of 16 tigers at the temple now, 4 of which were born there. Its a weird place...surreal is a good description. The tigers seem more like domestic cats than wild animals. But are still huge and very impressive. The monks seem particularly comfortable with the animals and its a great place to visit.
Its not just tigers at the temple tho...there are dozens of animals there. Most wild/injured, brought to recover and just didnt want to leave.They wander freely around the site, minding their own business and getting on with life (which includes making more babies). After seeing the tigers the visitors can hang around to see the 5pm turnip feed. The monks have what seems to be several tons of turnips delivered every day. The animals are familiar with the timings and from 4.45pm onwards, they start to make their way, from all over the temple grounds to the feeding place. Its almost biblical the sight of so many different species all trotting along together. No hassle, no fighting or barging, just merrily walking toward the turnip drop site :)They dont care about the visitors, they just walk straight past you, and then stand patiently waiting for 5pm. Once the bags of turnips are dropped from the backs of the trucks, its an all out feeding frenzy. Watching them trying to break open the plasic bags is funny...you have to lend a hand, being as animals arent blessed with hands themselves and resort to just eating their way through the plastic. It was a great trip. we both enjoyed it.
I (Gail), have had a new tattoo. Been thinking about it for a while and decided to get a prayer tattoo on my lower back. The prayer is for good health, with a promise to help others less fortunate than myself. If I do this, my prayer may be answered.Before starting the tattoo, the guy suggested that to give it good 'merit', I should release some fish from the market back into the river. Thereby fulfilling my agreement from the start. Obviously I have to continue doing the same, its not just a one hit and your blessed kind of thing! Im not Buddhist. Im against all forms of orgainised religions,as they seem to cause nothing but suffering, but i dont feel like a hypocrit either. The prayer seems more like just decent ethics and morals than implying faith in a 'higher being'. Anyway, hopefully I will be fortunate enough to recieve better health on my return to England....even if it also needs abit of Doctors 'tinkering' to help it along. Theres no pic of my new tattoo cos Adams deleted them! :( Maybe you'll see it on the next post.
Kanchanaburi is famous for being the site of the Bridge over the river Kwai. Thousands of the Japanese's POW's (mostly other asians, brits, dutch and aussies)were brought to build the railway line connecting bangkok with burma during the second world war. Due to horrific treatment most of the POW's died. There are a few museums around the area, and an allied cemetary built by the Thais after the war to comemorate the dead.The bridge itself is nothing special to look at...for the number of lives it took, you'd hope at least for something 'spectacular'. But no. All those guys died for an average bridge, which was blown up before the end of the war.
Were back to Bangkok tomorrow, then on the train to Kuala Lumpur on Saturday. We fly to Bali on Tuesday. Something makes me suspicious that there wont be any shortage of internet in Bali!!!
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