04 Jan

Bridge on the River Kwai

20151223_08484020151223_085928This famous bridge is 3 hours from Bangkok at Kanachaburi. 20151223_085420There is a tourist train that does a one day tour twice a week from here.   I went to book it and it was all sold out,  so I decided I could go on my own.  I found the bus to there runs from the South Bus Terminal.  There is a city bus from the train station near me to that terminal.  I had someone write in Thai for me where I wanted to go, and to please tell me to get off at the correct stop.  At the train station they told me to take bus # 40.  Got on bus #40, showed them my note, bus going in the wrong direction.  Off that bus, and onto one going in the right direction – for over 2 hours, at a cost of  9 cents. This city is big, and it was interesting to see things at street level.  They let me off on a median on a very busy road.  I had 4 lanes of traffic to cross.  An old Thai lady was half way across.  She turned and saw me, came back, took me by the hand, put her other hand up to stop traffic, and we crossed the road. She was about 90 years old, and 4 feet tall.   Next bus cost $3 and took 3 hours.  I had booked a guesthouse one night. I went to the bridge early in the morning.  First day I have not had sun, somber weather for a somber destination.  The Japanese built the Death Railway and this bridge with POW and conscripted Asian labour during WW2.  It is estimated 16,000 POWs and 100,000 Asian labourers died during the construction – one out of every three workers.  I visited one of the POW cemeteries, it was simple and perfectly maintained with a flowering plant at every grave.  As I walked up and down the rows I was surprised to see the average age was +30.  The war cemeteries in Europe were graves of teenagers, and those in their early twenties.  On my return trip my city bus cost 13 cents – it had A/C.   The Bridge on the River Kwai is a sad, but historic place – worth seeing.20151223_090758

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