Red tape, war history and 250 km on a bike

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April 24th 2005
Published: May 29th 2005
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Old Man and the SeaOld Man and the SeaOld Man and the Sea

At low tide this old man was bailing water and cleaning his nets.
Viagra! Viagra!
Not something you hear everyday when you enter a new country. After leaving Krabi I had a date with the border and a visa run in Burma, an altogether forgettable activity. Involving 6 hours and just about every method of transportation; motorbikes, buses, longtail boats and even a pedal bike I entered and left Burma in a matter of minutes. That wasn't before being offered every kind of pharmacy stimulant on the market, I'm told that 50 cents a pill is quite a good deal though. During my visa run I met an expat from New Jersey with a passport at capacity with Thailand/Burma entry stamps, life would suck if you had that trip to look forward to every month. Seems a friend was coming to visit him for a couple of weeks and he had rented a house for a month which was know vacant and hey, would I like a free place to stay in the affluent Thai suburbs for a few days? Over the next several days I explored Hua Hin, a place not originally on my travel plans. The King has permanent residence there and while it is a beach resort town, it mainly caters
Many arms for fathers workMany arms for fathers workMany arms for fathers work

Once a towering statue, now broken down like an old car parts everywhere, this statue was of a daughter who grew many arms to help her blind father.
to Thais on vacation. I found that out the second night in town, I went to the Hilton which has the biggest club in town and for the first time in my life I was the tallest guy on the dance floor, I doubt my dancing looked any better though. My next stop was Bangkok to apply for my Vietnam and Laos visas, a chore resembling work I guess. The damn visas take a week to process so I headed for Kanchanaburi and a little war time history.

Kanchanaburi is a .60c train ride northwest of Bangkok and is home to the Bridge over River Kwai and other WWII memorials. There is a large cemetery named JEATH representing the Japanese, English, Australian/American, Thailand and Holland, the major participants in the forced labor construction of a war supply train line cutting though some of the thickest jungle in Asia. Under Japanese rule some 16000 POWs and over 100,000 labourers from Asia countries died building the line. The bridge is still in use today though its not entirely original as many structural components have been replaced.

Filled up on history I rented a bike and headed for the hills, Erwan
Farm LandFarm LandFarm Land

This time of the year is the dry season, this valley is irrigated and reminded me more of Weber canyon than Thailand
waterfall was my goal, but being semi lost on a motorcycle is good fun too. After running over a snake and having a butterfly explode on my face I found the Thai equivalent of a waterpark, hordes of families swimming in huge pools of water cascading down through seven levels. On the third level a giant rock angled enough out over the water making a sort of moss covered water slide was enough to convince me that it was time to get wet. Ah but there are surprises in the water, the fish in the pools like to bite. If I would have known it might have been ok, but when something is swimming up your shorts and you dont know what it is you might freak out a little. I didn't feel like swimming much after that.
I had a few fun nights as well, one involved jumping into the back of a truck at 1230, driven to an undisclosed location (read the middle of a field 45 minutes outside of town) where a swimming pool, a DJ and a bar were built, nicely, but without practicality. What we weren't told was that there was no ride back, no

Ayutthaya was our first stop when Jon arrived. The former capital, this town integrated ruins and temples with the modern city life.
rooms to rent just lots of beer and rum punch and sun chairs if you had too much of the former. Good times.

Additional photos below
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Bridge over the River KwaiBridge over the River Kwai
Bridge over the River Kwai

here's Marty McFly's brother when he was visiting the bridge over the river Kwai. (seriously, this is NOT sean.)

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