A two-hour ride this morning west of Bangkok had me in Kanchanaburi. Our first stop was the Kanchanaburi Allied War Cemetery. Here layed WW2 POWs mostly from Holland and Britian who died in Thailand. It was beautifully kept. Immediately after we went to the Jeath War Museum which had an assortment of weapons, pictures and actual stuff from WW2. I found most of the information informative if not repetitive. This was good because my history from WW2 is a little hazy.
From the museum we could walk over to the Kwai River Bridge or the Death Railway. For those of you who can't remember its significance: During WW2 in 1942 the Japanese made their POWs (British, Australian, Duth and American) build this bridge over to Burma (Burma-Siam Railway). It was made to maintain the army in Burma. They completed the bridge in 16 months but in 1945 allied planes destroyed the bridge. It was later repaired but apparently you can still see damage near the riverbanks. During its construction, about 13,000 prisoners-of-war died, mainly of sickness, malnutrition and exhaustion - and were buried along the railway, thus Death Railway.
After walking on the bridge and taking photos of the murky water below we headed off for our hour long train ride. It was the bumpiest ride I've ever been on. I thought our car was going to pull away from the others. There were broken seats and really old fans on the ceiling. I don't think any of us really thought of the significance of the bridge, about all the people who died building it; we were too busy trying to get the best pictures of the Kwai River.
We ate lunch on a restaurant along the river. It was a simple buffet with typical Thai food. I enjoyed talking to the Americans and Australians who were a part of my group. Everyone has such a different story than your own so it's wonderful to hear them.
Then we went to a stupid waterfall that I won't bother writing more about.
And the best part of my day was going to the Wa Pa Laungta Bua Yannasampanno, Forest Monastery (Tiger Temple). I've seen so many different kinds of animals in the few months that I have been away. I've never seen a tiger up close and personal so I was really excited.
Red is the color of danger for tigers. So anybody who had red on had to change into a neutral color. Luckily I had no red on today. We walked through the grounds of the monastery and we were surprised to see horses, billy goats, deer and peacocks. I loved it.
Here's the story with the tigers. They need a new home. http://www.tigertemple.comClick on the English version and please read.
Getting back to me. The tigers and their handlers were in a big open space while we, the tourists were sectioned off by a small rope. If we wanted to have our pics taken with the tigers, we had to give our cameras to one of the handlers. Then another handler would lead us around to the tigers while the first handler took our pictures with the tigers. We weren't allowed to wear hats or make any noises. The tigers were lazing about half asleep chained to polls. We did little poses near the snoozing tigers while giving them a little stroke here and there.
A monk was in the middle of all this action stroking and combing the tigers. Is it wrong to think a monk is hot? Well this monk was. I think he caught my loving him vibe because he called me over to him, and he put one of the tigers on my lap. He/she was snoozing while I lovingly stroked his head. I want a pet tiger right now. I think I just might volunteer there for a month or so but I wonder if I would have to shave my head.