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Published: December 6th 2009
Hello from Thailand. These messages may be infrequent, since we are having too much fun to spend time in internet cafes.
Firstly, we are safe and well and are currently in Bangkok.....
They say that you either love or loathe Bangkok. We love it so far. Met up with Ross's old friend, Ivan, who lives here. We watched the amazing celebrations for king's birthday last night in the city - along with about 3 million others! Fireworks and sound and light show spectacular. (Some fireworks firing off right beside us, risking life and limb). We went to the usual tourist things during the day - Grand Palace, Wat Po (giant reclining Buddha), Wat Arun, etc.. Weather warm and sunny - it is now the dry season.
Bangkok is a furious mix of beautiful old temples and new high rise.
The Thai people are warm , gracious and friendly.
We went to the legendary backpacker ghetto Khao San road - that was fun, till Craig nearly got run over by a wayward cart of bok choy ! The banana roti that Joce recommended were delicious, but we passed on the deep fried scorpions. We are staying in a great hotel right on the river and eating at fantastic little restaurants. One called "Hemlock" is superb - for those of you in Melbourne, think "Long Grain" but at 1/50th the price.
We got a minivan up to Kanachanaburi - driven by Thai version of Micheal Schumacher. Wish I'd had a bottle of valium before the ride - but made it in one piece. Kanchanaburi is the jumping off spot for Death Railway, Bridge on River Kwai and Tiger temple. We went to all that stuff. Tiger temple is where you pat the tigers ! It is quite controversial - with allegations that they drug the animals, and illegally trade them with Laos. But we chatted to a no bullshit Aussie guy who is working there and said they are defintely not drugged. Anyway, we have some amazing pics of us patting the beasts. Also, Craig got to bottle feed a juvenile leopard, which was a bonus.
We got up at Sparrow's fart to catch the Death railway - train - through farmland and along the river. Very nice. The museums that detail the conditions of the POW's buidling the railway were really informative and moving.
We have caught all sorts of transport, form Chao Phraya Express (little fast ferries), to trains, buses, and tuk-tuks (those motorised three wheel things that belch fumes).
We have been shaking our heads at the motorcyclists here - invariably doubling others. One guy had a woman and child on board, and she was platting the kid's hair as they zoomed along dangerously weaving in and out of traffic. Another guy was doubling someone who was eatiing a bowl of soup as they zoomed along.
Thats it for now. We are here in our hotel lobby waiting for Ivan - he is taking us on a longtail boat ride down the klongs (canals) to see day to day life on the river away from the city. We spent last night drinking with Ivan ,who is so knowledgeable about the history and politics of Bangkok.
Everthing here is dirt cheap - which means lots of drinking (Chang beer or cocktails) and eating.
We may upload some photos if we get the chance.
We are going to Khao Yai National Park soon - where we hope to spot gibbons, elephants, et al.
Hope all is well -
Den and Wendy, please pass this on to Mum and Dad. (We can be contacted via our yahoo email addresses)
Craig and Ross
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