Day 86 : Troubled bridge over water

11 October 2010

Location : River Kwai – Kanchanaburi to Hua Hin

High Point: Helpful people

Low Point: Stinky chat in the cab

No Point: Barham’s phone

The day started early at 6am with our first view of the river Kwai from our Hotel.  The late night karaoke boats (incl. squealing Thai’s onboard) gave us an idea of the size of the river however not it’s beauty.

Day 86 - Kanchanaburi to Hue Hin  (8 of 17) Kanchanaburi is the site of the infamous ‘Bridge over the river Kwai’ and we were eager to spend some time there learning about the building of the bridge but also as a tribute to Steve’s grandfather who was a PoW in Singapore during the war and worked on the construction of the Thailand – Burma Railway…also known as the ‘Death Railway’ which the Japanese wanted as a key link to India without having to use the sea.

The guide book had pre-warned us that the bridge looked nothing like the 1957 film as they had depicted it as constructed from wood, and, after a couple of checks that we were stood on the right bridge we took time to appreciate the gigantic task that over 30,000 British PoW helped……….wrong word, were ‘forced’ to build.  It was thought-provoking for all of us – or for Steve who described it as a ‘Back to the Future’ movie moment as he could see himself fading away at the thought that he wouldn’t be here if his grandpa had died which made us all think that we wouldn’t be there either on the bridge if it wasn’t for Steve……all still present and correct we carried on!!

Wanting to know more we headed to the Death Railway museum for a very humbling lesson about the area and the hardships that both civilians and PoW’s endured under Japanese rule.  The railway, which is 258 miles long, took only 16mths to build versus a 5 yr engineer’s estimate.  The conditions workers were under is unimaginable and resulted in over 116,000 deaths (6,450 British) mainly from malnutrition and disease.  Makes you appreciate the suffering our grandparents/parents were under at the time.  Love you Grandad (Mr Jones) – hope you’re still spreading the word about FTFE and handing out flyers!!! 🙂

Our next stop after a long drive was Hua Hin and our first view of the sea on Stage 4 and Steve’s since leaving in July.  We had our usual comical looks whilst trying to find somewhere for us and Martha to stay. We tried the Shopping Mall – busy, Fishing Port – smelly, Temple – looked a little out of place!.. until and exceptionally helpful and lovely local offered to escort us on her bike to a hotel with room for us all inc Martha.  People really are lovely here 🙂


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One Response to “Day 86 : Troubled bridge over water”

  1. Grandpa would be very proud of you.