12th - 26th July 2004
We had been speculating on what "dragon fruit" where since eating one in Khaosan Road, Bankok. We guessed they must grow nearby when we saw piles of them for sale on roadside stalls, but until we saw them growing we would never have guessed how they grow. They are swollen suculent leaves:
One night the only guesthouse we could find wanted 350 Baht, twice what we were used to paying. So we filled our waterbags from their tap and found ourselves a place to camp instead. The only problem was that it was too hot to sit in the tent before it was dark, but as it was getting dark we were attacked by mosquitos. Also, in the morning, ants were swarming over our cooker and food pannier! Luckily it didn't rain so we left off the flysheet and the night itself was fairly comfortable, and there were some nice ant-spires nearby:
Only a couple of weeks previously, Ju had regained contact with a past colleague and cycling friend. It turned out that in the six years since they had last been in touch, Geoff had done a lot of foreign cycle touring and even visited Thailand. In fact he had taken a similar route to us, but in the town of Uthai Thani he had fallen in love with Beni, a Thai lady and they had got married. Sadly he wasn't in Uthai Thani when we passed through, but his in-laws made us extremely welcome and showed us around the town.
This is the beautifully mirrored Wat Tha Sung, even the ceiling was mirrored so one could look up and see oneself looking down!
On top of the hill overlooking Uthai Thani is Wat Sangkas Ratana Kir, where this delightfully rounded Buddha sits. You can make a wish if the coin drops into the belly button!
Sadly our visa was running short so we could only stay one day. Even though we left at 6:30am this most hospitable of families turned out to wave us goodbye:
In Kanchanaburi we met an ex-student of Ju's, Rik, who had been to Malaysian Borneo with Raleigh International and then travelled round much of S.E. Asia. We had corresponded for several months so it was great when we realised that we would be in Kanchanaburi when he was in Bankok and he would be able to come over to see us. We spent four days together, much of it splashing around in one waterfall or another!
Sai Yok Noi waterfall:
Caving in Sai Yok National Park:
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