Amber in Thailand, Feb/March 2007 travel blog

Well, I am currently in Bangkok, ready for the south part of my trip. The last few days have been crazy and extremely hot. I left Chiang Mai and went to Ayuthaya in Central thailand. It used to be the capital of Siam. It was overtaken by Burma and is now a city built around the ruins. We went and visited some ruins of the old palace and some old temples. The temples were really interesting and beautiful. The buddha's all had no heads, due to the fact that when the Burmese invaded they stole the gold off the buddha's and stole the stuff that was inside. What is left is concrete headless buddha's. That evening there was Chinese New Year celebration on the street right in front of our hotel. We ate on the street and watched the celebration. It was alot of fun, but very hot! The next day, we took a songtaew, which is a pickup truck with benches in the back, covered by a roof. We drove for about 2.5 hours to our first stop in Konchanaburi. The Erawan falls. This is a 7 tier fall, but due to it being dry season the upper tiers are dried up. There were monkeys and lizards everywhere. Also there were fish that would nibble at your toes. Because of dry season, you could swim on tier 3. After we got back in the songtaew and headed for about 1 hour, to a war memorial. This is the River kwai region, so it has alot of history of WW11. The museum that we visited was for Hell's Pass. It was an area where the Japanese made POW's and Thai people build the railway under really horrid circumstances. The museum was really nice, the memories, not so much. After 1/2 the group including myself went to the Tiger Temple. This is a monastery where the monks have been taking in orphaned tigers for the last 7 years. They are orphaned due to poachers. They have managed to create a somewhat domestic cat out of these tigers. The monks lead them around on leashes. they also have many other animals, including boars, cows, donkeys etc. It is like Noah's ark. They are currently working with National Geographic, to build a habitat where the tiger's can have 3 acres of land each, with the hopes of one day being able to release some back into the wild. So when you visit, the $ donated goes toward this project. It is very controversial, however, as currently the tigers are sort of a tourist attraction, where you can get your picture with them and pet them, and they live in cages. But it is for the greater good I suppose, and there is no funding for the monastery. I think though they could have had some education set up. After we got back into the songtaew and headed to Konchanaburi. After all was said and done, I spent 10 hours in a songtaew. It was so hot, that the wind was hot, with these odd blasts of even hotter air. Also the danger factor. Thailand has very relaxed traffic laws. and the lines seem like a guideline more than anything. So racing down a busy highway in the back of a pickup, doesn't seem like the safest thing to do.......but we survived. The next day, we went to the Bridge over the River Kwai. And then we boarded a house boat. We floated down the river and had a relaxing day. Swimming and hanging out. We were fed delicious food. We made one stop, at a pagoda. It was a chinese buddhist temple. It was nice. We then went back to the boat. After dinner, I had a massage under the stars. We slept on the boat. I awoke with food poisoning :(. That sucked. We made our way by bus to Bangkok, where I spent the day trying to get better. Today I am feeling much better. Tonight we take the train down south. I miss you all, and can't wait to see or hear from you soon.


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