Friday, February 11, 2005

Kanchanaburi 3

Here are a few other shots of our Trekking team. We were met by three Aussies; Tim, Michael and Craig, who represented their Country well. They made evenings at the camp a real pleasure.

We rode to our adventures in what we dubbed the Japanese Elephant because it was a Honda.

Alex and Jude, our British Team mates, riding the elephants. They are both Teachers who are volunteering in China for eighteen months, teaching English.

Eri san and Iako san, students from Tokyo Japan, and the only two brave enough to go swimming in the River Kwai the first day.

This is Mauke. Mauke is from the Cooke Islands. Remember the Movie: 'Whale Rider'? Those are his people. Mauke is married to a woman in Vancouver Canada and is teaching in Korea. We had a great talk about his traditions and I just received an email from him a few minutes ago. Happy travels Mauke and perhaps we'll meet up in BC. You never know when I might be there.

Major Noon was our host while staying in the Jungle Huts on the River Kwai. He is 68 years old and retired about 7 years ago from the army. The major took two tours in Vietnam from 68-70 and has seen things you and I don't want to ever even picture. The year he retired, after 40 years in the service, his wife died. Now he runs this camp. The last night we were there, he announced he was making 'oord-erves'. He came back to the circle of chairs at the beach with a small bowl of salty seeds that turned out to be popcorn. Unfortunately, Noon probably has never seen popcorn so he may not have realized you're supposed to pop it. We enjoyed the gesture just the same and at the end many of us gave him a hug and promised to send pictures of our journey back to him.

Hellfire pass. Ted Heller saw this a couple of years ago and recommended I see it. When the Japanese supply lines were cut off by the American blockade in 1941, that led to the attack on Pearl Harbour, Japan ordered the 'Death Railway' to be built. What you see here is the 'Hellfire' section that was built in six weeks of back breaking work, by hand picks. The prisoners worked by torchlight, at night, which led to the nick name 'Hellfire'. Seventy thousand men died from rock slides and cruelty during the building of this pass. This was part of the railway line the runs across the 'Bridge on the River Kwai'. It was only in service for 21 months and then abandoned.

We did this picture to show you how narrow the pass was. Imagine how close to the rocks the train must have run. That's Henry, by the way. Henry is a retired teacher from Holland who travels all over the world. He plays a mean guitar too.

This is our Team at Noon's camp on the last morning before we left for Bangkok. I have tried to include pictures for my team mates to download for themselves later. I have always found that the real journey is not the places you visit but the beautiful Souls you encounter along the way; and how they influence your life.

And that ends this portion of the program. Please exit by the rear.

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