ah hell, forget catching one by the toe.....just take it for a walk. which is exactly what i did. sorta. but that is jumping ahead a bit. i left ayutthaya for kanchanaburi, home of the bridge on the river kwai. well, not the actual bridge that was built by allied POWs (as that bridge was destoyed by the allies) but a reconstruction of the bridge that allowed the completion of 'the death railway' which allowed the japanese to move supplies from burma to lower malaysia, i believe.
were it not for kanchanaburi's association with the railway and the bridge, i dont suppose there would be much of a tourist infrastructure within the town. as it stands though there are numerous guesthouses and associated tourist businesses all over the town. i ended up staying at a guesthouse called the jolly frog (no, it wasnt run by happy french people) which was pretty nice and has a beautiful garden that overlooked the river itself. no complaints about the accomodations until the afternoon thunderstorms struck and by bathroom was flooded with what could only be described as less than sanitary water. but the guesthouse was good about it and immediately moved me
to a 2nd floor room that had no such problems.
the bridge itself is less than spectacular, but when you consider the conditions under which it was built it becomes something truly impressive. i have been having a hard enough time dealing with the heat and exhaustion that goes hand in hand with 40 degree temperatures, so to try and imagine what those POW's endured in the bridge's construction simply defies comprehension. the bridge was swarmed with tourists, seemingly equally split between europeans and japanese, so it was impossible to get a shot of the bridge in an unoccupied state, which is too bad because the brightly clad tourists seem to distract from what should be an emotionally moving piece of engineering. but one thing i am realizing is that tourism is everywhere, and it cares little for the source of its origins in any given place. so what did i do next? well, the tourist thing of course....i went to pet tigers.
not far from kanchanaburi is the 'tiger temple', a place run by monks who adopted an abandoned tiger cub and now raise tigers in captivity. the tigers are all relatively tame and you can actually
get your photo taken with them and at the end of the day walk a tiger for a few steps on its way back to its cage. its actually pretty cool. they are massive beasts and to actually be able to stroke one is something i will not soon forget. and walking one is a bit of misnomer. it walks you. majestic animals. most of you know i dont like cats, but in the case of a tiger i will make and exception (though i would still pick a bull terrier if i had to make a choice.) and with that memory fresh in the bank i headed off the next day for the south. first stop, hua hin.
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