Trip Start Sep 20, 2006
Trip End Dec 16, 2006

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Saturday, September 23, 2006

Evening all. It's 8.21pm here, take 6 hours off for UK time.

Have had quite a busy day, up at 6.30am (reluctantly) for an organised tour to Kanchanaburi, which is God knows where and took FOREVER to get to. It is where the bridge over the river Kwai is.

We stopped first at a 'sugar factory' which was no more than a man showing us how to get the milk and stuff out of a coconut, and then giving us some sugary stuff that was apparantly made from coconut. It was no Cadbury factory let me tell thee, but it did provide an opportunity to get out of the shiteous minivan.

Afterwards, we headed to the floating markets and just sat on the side of the river banks and watching everything floating by. It was incredibly colourful and some of the fruit and veg they were selling looked amazing, if not absurd in some incidences. They were selling loads of things: fruit, clothes, hats, Louis Vuitton stuff.... you know, the usual.

Then we were taken to some place off the beaten track for a lunch of rice, sweet n sour stuff and an omlette, which was located on the River Kwai. The 'restaurant' was a floating platform over the river with a little canopy roof and benches. We all sat together with the other people from our trip who were a right mixed bunch, and chatted away with each other. The locals came and served each of us in urn and it was a really nice experience. We headed up the road a bit a visited the World War II memorial museum, which I actually found rather horrific and not commemorative at all.

I'm not sure whether it was meant to be commemorative, as the Thai's/Japs forced the British/Aussie etc prisoners of war to build the bridge. They completed it in one year and they were pushed hard, which resulted in the majority of them dying... The museum mainly consisted of shop mannequins (in 'death poses' and covered in wounds and blood) re-enacting the building of the bridge, including them falling off and dying in the water below, nice. We walked over the bridge and back, which would have been shut down in England for health and safety but good old Asia doesn't aknowledge things like that yet.

After the bridge we went to a tiger temple, which is a huge sanctuary for tigers, run by monks. It seems the tigers have been hand reared from birth and are very 'friendly'. They are not in cages, but in the middle of a canyon area and you are allowed to just walk around with them and pet them!!

You have your pictures taken with them and they seem very placid, I personally think they were sedated as I'm sure a major wild animal like that would not be perpetually tame. Anyway, nice experience, but not as nice as stroking Tip and Chin. Arrr. (My cats for those who don't know)

Things are ok here, settling in ok, slight culture shock (mostly food related) as I really would rather eat my own face than eat at most of the places around here. At some point soon, I'll just succomb and not care anymore, but it's not happened just yet... it has only been 3 days though. Can't face the street vendors just yet, I have trust issues now I know they eat deep fried mice WTF!!! Settled for what resembled a chicken burger yesterday (could well have been mouse) and also some very nice chicken and flat noodels.

Think after all the activity we are just sitting by the pool tomoro, then in the evening we are going (by coach) to Chiang Mai. The coach is 10 hours, then we have a day chilling somewhere, then 3 days trekking. I think it involves water falls, elephant riding and some sort of bamboo rafting. Hopefully there will not actually be much walking involved, I shall be on the look out for leeches.

That's about all for today. We found a very nice looking restuarant on the way back to the hotel tonight, that actually does more than red curry, green curry, burgers and spaghetti. I spotted prawn fish cakes on the menu, so HURRAH!!! I shall eat for the first time since getting here. I don't suppose this will last........

Will prob not be able to write for a few days, so don't worry, am not dead. Have no idea what is in Chiang Mai and may be there for 5 nights before heading to Laos. Will write asap. Take care, big love to all xxxxxxxx
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