A Gentle Pace

We flew into Bangkok day before yesterday, the last day of January.

For the first two days we stayed at an eco cultural hotel near Bangkok. It is an organic ,self sufficient complex. Where they grow everything organically  and are totally self sufficient. They have acres of land ( we were given a tour and it took us two hours to look around), based around a river it has coconut, guava, papaya and bananas growing as well as they have rice fields. Even their swimming pool doesn’t use chemicals they use eco friendly methods to maintain it.It is a whole village geared towards clean organic living .

Green and pleasant

The tour to the farm was through very uneven ground and harsh terrain. Surely our health and safety would have had a fit. What with un even and narrow pathways and and bridges made with what looked like ( but wasn’t ) fragile food I was quite nervous, also I have found that the blazing sun doesn’t agree with me any more. But with with the help of my fellow travellers I made it and was glad I did that too ,as they offered us the fresh coconut just plucked from the tree with lovely juice and then to scrape out the delicious tender juicy coconut was a real treat. I somehow didn’t mind walking back on those wobbly bridges to board the little boat which has taken us across the river to the farm.

Alas all good things come to an end, so did our farm visit after two nights. We travelled from there to Bangkok, stopping on the way at the famous Bridge on the river Kawaii. I have read a bit about the “death railway” , the track and the bridge made by the prisoners of war , the movie “The Bridge on River Kawaii” was my father’s favourite movie. However I was not prepared for the grim reality showed in the museum by the river and the rows upon rows of graves in the adjoining cemetery , where a lot and lot of the dead were under twenty years of age. The stories are showed in a continuous loop in a film at the museum and there are wax figures of the tired and helpless prisoners of wars in the museum. They were captured by Japan during the 2nd world war and forced to build the bridge and the “death railway” under appalling conditions. A grim reminder of man’s brutality to its fellow beings, and then to see the row upon row of the graves in the cemetery ,where they all lie side by side. it really brings the futility of war home.

We travelled on a train on the bridge and on the river for some three stops. The condition and the train will not linger in my memory, let us say another nightmare for the health and safety! it brings home the fact that how much is left to chance and may be Karma in the Eastern countries.

However there was a pleasant end to the afternoon as we boarded a barge for our lunch, after the grimness and the heat this brought us some pleasant relief as we floated on the Kawaii river while we had our lunch.

It was a long day and quite late when we arrived at our huge and rather posh hotel. It was a bit of a shock and over whelming to arrive at this huge and rather indifferent place but I had a pleasant surprise when I got to my room. The window in my room had a lovely view of the river and as if to welcome me a fully lit ship sailed by.

The next day was the last full day of our holiday and we went to the temple of the Emerald Buddha. This temple is said to have been built by the king Rama in 1782. It is very very ornate with various chambers and ornate mirror and coloured stone. The tradition of constructing temples has existed in Thailand (First known as Siam) since 800 years ago. This is now used as the living quarter for the Buddhist Monks. The place was heaving with humanity. Being so close to the Chinese new year the whole of the country it seemed has turned out to visit the place, plus the hundreds of tourists like us. The Thai people revere their royals. When the King died the country went into mourning for almost a year, no one can or does say anything about them ,it is said you can be jailed for being rude about the king.

The sun was hot and we all were glad when the tour ended and we could get back to the bus. Though the Emerald Buddha is rather small , though the setting is very ornate and set with precious stones. the Emerald Buddha is carved from a block of Jasper and only measures 66 Centimetres high.

Yesterday evening was the farewell dinner on a boat. it picked us up from the hotel which is set by the river and took us around the river for two hours while we ate our dinner. A traditional Thai meal ,served with their customary politeness and hospitality. AS Bangkok gently floated past ,bidding us farwell.

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