A greener shade of Bangkok

Last weekend, following the recommendation of Evo from the Bangkok Podcast, I visited Bang Krachao. It's a massive park within Bangkok's borders also known as the Green Lung, since it may be the only place you can go to breathe. Or it may be the city's only oxygen source left. Or it's kinda shaped like lungs--opinions vary, as they so often do here.

no street food, no streets--this is still Bangkok?

no street food, no streets--this is still Bangkok?

I'm not so foolish as to think I've seen all BKK has to offer--not even close--but even so, this was a surprise.

The area in and around also has a weekend floating market and other fun discoveries you can really only see by renting a bike.

lots of people shopping. Okay, still Bangkok.

lots of people shopping. Okay, still Bangkok.

roadside  Ganesha

roadside Ganesha

And speaking of renting that bike, they have bike paths. But not like the ones back home.

straight-ish and very narrow

straight-ish and very narrow

It might not be clear just how tight this path is--two bicycles could pass each other but handlebars would be scraping railings. That is, where there are railings--and they disappear at points with no warning, where a shear drop-off awaits.

Fortunately, when I got astride a family and rode a bit too close to them and to avoid them overcompensated there was a railing waiting to catch me. That was a comfort. Less comfortable was the slow-motion crash and the bicycle kicking back into my exposed shin, but hey, what's a little hematoma?


KANCHANABURI

Later in the week I took a bus 120 kilometers (75 miles) west to Kanchanaburi Province, an almost entirely rural, farming area of Thailand, as different of a world from Bangkok as one could imagine. 

To see this beauty, however, you have to board the Terror Train.

Terror Train is not the official name, just one I found appropriate--because over the Wampo Viaduct the drop-off is...significant

But there's more than fear and beauty in this place. This is the Burma Railway--aka the Death Railway built by Japanese-captured POWs in WWII. To stand on the trestles, to touch the steel laid by tens of thousands of Allied soldiers--men working against their will to benefit the enemy. To think of the 12,000 of them who died--along with a 100,000 or more Asian laborers--it staggers the imagination.

surreal

surreal

After, we visited one the museums containing many artifacts. This was the most shocking of all: 

beyond surreal

beyond surreal

Why these bones aren't interred somewhere, I do not know. Given DNA testing today, I would figure they could be returned to their families. This left far more questions for me than answers--is it a cultural thing? Do "authorities" just not know this is here? Are these "just" Asian laborers, and thus somehow "less important"?

Kind of a dark way to end the post, I know. So here's the pretty sunset we saw before leaving. 

ahh, pretty. let's forget the war atrocities we just saw.

ahh, pretty. let's forget the war atrocities we just saw.