Death Bridge (never a good start)

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July 21st 2008
Published: July 21st 2008
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Following on from my last entry....
So we got on a bus to take us to Petchaburi, made famous by the exploits of bridge building that occured here in the second world war. It is more commmonly known as 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' or simply 'Death Bridge'.
As I said, a bus. It was not however a direct route. When we boarded it immediately became clear that this was not to be a journey of comfort. The coach was jam-packed full of scouts both male and female (who, annoyingly burst into laughter at the sight of us - they were obviously aware that this was going to be a very bloody amusing journey). The bus truly was packed. Neither myself nor Sam could stand up but as there was no where to sit (and as we have'nt earnt monk status yet) we had to stand. Again I use the term 'stand' loosely. It was more like slouching at an angle with our heads forced into any available nook or cranny to stop them hitting obtruding ceiling obstacles (like fans). This was a danger we had not considered when booking our flight.
However we endured (makes it sound like we had alot more hardship than we actually did) this for a few hours. Eventually some seats became free and we sat down. Looking at Sam next to a small Thai girl was interesting (I mean ammusing). It was like he was sitting next to a pixie (/jockey).
Since we missed our stop from the last bus we were paranoid of missing more and once again Thai road signs, nor incompetent Thais (who don't know their own country) help. We were dropped off on a stop where we had to get another bus to Petchaburi.
It is actually a very nice place, somewhere I heartily recommend. It has enough of Bangkok to make it fun but also a smaller town feel which is appealing. Especially as I don't actually like Bangkok.
Intially we went to a railway (WW2) museum, which is probably the only museum in the world where I have read every single exhibit - it was fascinating. The hardship endured by soldiers here was extroadinary, with 7000 Brits out of 100 000 (mixed nationality) dead during its construction. And by the way the film is a load of bollocks. I was there.
Directly opposite the museum is the Allied war cemetary, which represents only a mere fraction of the dead. As you walk in to the grounds in silence, you contemplate the events that bought the soldiers to their death. I hated it. I had to leave, not because of emotions but I hate that a foot of land represented one dead soldier; one life wasted to build an ultimately pointless bridge (it was later destroyed by Allied forces). Little is done in Britain to recognise what these soldiers sacrificed and I thought it was disgusting that people took photos of themselves standing next to graves, little realising that in that one snapshot they had captured the lives of hundreds of men who died for nothing. In these blogs you have everything...there's more emotion coming up (but comedy after that).
Another museum here is hilarious. It has world leaders/dictators of he WW2 era as plaster staues. They all look exactley the same and completely unlike real life; now thats honouring the dead in a stylish way. People were taking photos and video recordings of the bridge, which was amusing as it was like any other bridge (and it was not even the original one - this one was rebuilt in 50's). It was a brige. I would'nt have bothered taking a photo except I liked the mountains behind it.
Waking across the bridge I saw an elephant. The sight of it being tethered up for the amusement of tourists was truly heartbraking. My face dropped when I saw this cruelty and with no hint of irony I felt awful; I looked on and felt some sort of affinity with it. And Ithis is from an awful environmentalist. I just bought a Stingray belt. Its hard to convey the mix of feelings experienced in such a place.
Walking back though (I was in a glum mood), a sign made me laugh. It was for a British pub selling burgers ('the dogs bollocks!') It said - 'No fat, no gristle and no bollocks'. Surely this is a metaphor for what a tourist looks for in a Thai woman? No fat or bollocks.
I just ate some insects from a road side stall - some I recommend, like tortilla chips.


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