Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bangkok to Kanchanaburi

My last night at Bangkok was a late one, didn't get to bed until the very very early hours of the morning. However, this wasn't from partying, this was from some very deep philosophical discussions regarding politics (of the thai government), and religion. The group of guys that I knew from Vang Vieng and Siem Reap had met a local Thai girl the night before, and we caught up with her again at a bar on a side street from Khao San Road. She explained in further detail about what all the protesting is about - its actually peaceful and predominantly about the corruption in the government and the impact between the different levels of society - poor, middle class and upperclass. As a middleclass member of society she was not involved in the protests, but was impacted directly because it caused alot more traffic and made things harder for her to get to work etc.

This conversation led on to topics of ghosts, spirit worship, a detailed description of buddha images and the importance of wearing them, creation, atheism and agnotistism. Very interesting, got quite heated up at a few stages. One of the guys I've been catching up doesn't believe there is a God, another one believes that there is but that anything pretty much goes.

Yesterday after going to bed at 4.30, I caught a mini bus from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi at the early hours of 7am . At least, thats what I was supposed to do. Guess what, I had bus drama's again! Having gotten up at 6.20, I was well and truly checked out and waiting for the bus to come by about 6:50. Went for a quick toilet break and told the lady at reception to tell the bus driver to wait (as they were coming to collect me) in case they came precisely on time. So I was just waiting out the front of the guesthouse at the restaurant with my bags. Waiting, waiting, waiting.. more waiting. A few other people had been waiting for buses to come and majority were all running late. Anyway by 7:40 I thought I'll just check on this.. asked at reception and she made phone calls and turns out that the bus driver had come, had a look around and taken off (without inquiring at the front desk) leaving me behind, and was it okay for me to take the 9am bus instead? That was no drama's, I'd originally wanted the 9am bus but had been told it was full. So after that drama, I got on the 9am bus and made it to Kanchanaburi by about 11.30. Spent the rest of the afternoon meeting other travellers at the backpackers (Jolly Frog - highly recommended), lazing around in hammocks and playing some guitar. Went to dinner at a little restaurant across the road and had the most amazing red curry I've ever had!!

Today I joined up with a tour group to explore the greater surrounding area of kanchanaburi. Four of us were from Jolly Frog and had met up last night, but during our explorations during the day ended up pairing up. I wandered around with a guy from Adelaide, Ben for most of the day. We spent 4 hours at the Erawan waterfalls which has 7 levels. It was pretty but I've seen better waterfalls so that in particular didn't impress me all that much. The funniest thing about the water were the fish!

There is no fishing due to it being a national park and a spiritual place so there are some MASSIVE fish in the waters, but there are also itty bitty tiny ones, the ones that are also known as 'Dr fish' and eat the dead skin off your feet. I tend to go barefoot a significant portion of the time, and even though I had a pedicure the other day in Siem Reap, these fish obviously decided that my feet were in need of a good solid clean. They kept attacking non-stop pretty much the entire time I was in the water, if I was still for about 3 seconds they would come up and have a nibble. For the first half an hour or so of swimming around, any time I'd stand and get attacked I would be jumping up and down as it is the most bizarre feeling. I later let them do their magic and it was so funny to feel them sucking around your toes and heels and the bottom of your feet. We also went on a train railway line that was built by japanese prisoners of war.

Now I'm about to go have dinner at that awesome restaurant, and tomorrow head up towards chiang mai (via bangkok by the sounds of it).

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