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Published: September 13th 2010
Week two was definitely more chilled than the first but it was also a lot more authentic in terms of travelling and the experiences had. After leaving the island, several of us made the treacherous trip back to Bangkok. It was a shocker. At this point I had been devoured by most insects known to man and the journey was even longer than it had been on the way down. I had the holiday blues for sure.
I stayed in the same hostel as before but it was strange having to start again and meet new people. I had to say goodbye to Sarah first- that was hard as she was the first person I had met and I really liked having here around. On the Sunday it was Dino, Tor, Chazzy, Alyssa and Vicky who made their departures. Finally on the Monday it was goodbye to Pete and Theo. Its funny how attached you become to people you haven't know long. It gets so intense sharing your time and space with someone and then it just coming to an end. Luckily as I'm around in Asia for a while yet, I should be able to meet up with people again and if not then I'll just have to impose my ness on them in their home towns. I've raved so much about Lovely Brighton that I think I'll have to move back just to have a base for people to come to when they visit.
On the Monday, Helen and I (a girl I met in the Hostel) took a trip to Kanchanaburi, a couple of hours from Bangkok. Here we paid next to nothing for a gorgeous room and to top it off, there were gnomes on site! To those of you who know about my passion for these wonderful, garden creatures, you'll understand that this was even more exciting than having a swimming pool!
On the next day, we took a bike ride around the town and went to see 'The Bridge on The River Kwai', a site ruled by the Japanese in WW11 and involving the building of a bridge linking Thailand and Burma. (For full details, please see Wikipedia.) We also took the trouble to enjoy the pool which was a hard task I can assure you. Kanchanaburi is a funny place- it's cute and homely but there's a sad undertone to it. Every day the same women are out on the street cooking and the same bars and restaurants are empty, waiting for custom that will not arrive. Also, for a small town, there were a lot of brash middle-aged, western men whose desires can, I'm sure, be guessed.
The second day there, we took a guided tour of various sites, lead by the wonderful Irene. Now, Thailand is infamous for it's 'Lady-Boy' culture and oftentimes (as members of Team-Thailand have experienced first-hand), it's not always that easy to tell. However with Irene, this was not the case. She was one of the funniest people I've met so far on the trip. With comments such as 'White men are big but also hairy so when they take their shirts off they look like monkeys' and in reference to the high number of children her father has 'I tell him to stop fucking so much', her tour was amazing. She was really excitable and underneath her scatty, camp exterior, she was also very intelligent. It's funny cause when you're on one of these tours, you realise how lucky you are to be there. I worked really hard to pay for my trip but in Thailand, most people work really hard just to be able to keep the house running and their family fed and watered.
The first part of the tour was around a waterfall site-(Erawan Falls) it was lush but I don't think I have been so hot or sweaty in all my days. The mermaid-esque pictures I had envisaged did not materialise that's for sure. Next stop was lunch where I avoided proper thai food as I didn't want to experience any 'through the eye of a needle' on that particular day. In the afternoon was the infamous elephant trek. Helen and I ended up with some rogue-youth who jumped off the elephant as soon as we had got on. At first it was really fun but as the kid kept throwing rocks at the beast and then told us how they cut the ears of the elephant so that they could eat them, we started to feel a bit funny about the whole thing. I wouldn't tell someone not to do it but I certainly won't do it again. We went back on to do some other history stuff but I feel this is turning into factsgalore.com so I shall end the boring stuff there.
The few days here were fun anywho and a real respite. Next stop, Chiang Mai!
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