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Tuesday, 01 May 2007

Can you Spare a Square? - Page 4

Written by Sherry Ott
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Have you seen the Sienfeld episode, “Can you Spare a Square”? In Sienfeld they were talking about toilet paper - however in Thailand - I’m referring to a napkin. Thailand has this weird mix: the spiciest food, and the smallest napkins. This may not seem like an issue, however, when your sinuses are running like a faucet due to the spicy food; you need more than a tiny napkin.


The next day me and a friend, Emily, rented little bikes with big baskets on the front- I felt as if I were 7 years old again! We biked all over Kanchanaburi to see the World War II Cemetery, the Railway museum and the famous bridge itself. I’m certainly no history expert, in fact, I’m probably below normal when it comes to my knowledge of WWII, but I was captivated by this little town and the history there. The bridge was just one part of a much larger story about the railway that was built between Thailand and Burma by WWII POW’s. It was fascinating and sobering. The museum there was top notch - very educational, and not to be missed. I was moved by what I learned and had a big knot in my stomach after seeing the pictures and visiting the cemetery.


foodCycling back from the bridge, though, I was ready for lunch. I let Emily pick the spot, as she was a very adventurous eater and had been eying many places as we biked to the bridge. She chose one of the road side ‘restaurants’ that simply had pots of food out front and a few seats inside away from the sun. I can safely say that we were the only tourists that stopped there that whole week. The ladies warned us a few times about the fact that it was spicy - but we barged ahead. We left our customary stack of napkins, and lost the feeling in our lips.


Later that afternoon we embarked on an adventure that was highly recommended by one of Emily’s friends. We went to see and pet live tigers at a temple run by monks. We took off in a little truck taxi with about 8 other people. Being crammed in the back of a truck for 40 minutes wasn’t the best, but to pet live tigers I could put up with anything.


We bought our tickets and on the back of the ticket there was a disclaimer that we had to sign. “You are going to be seeing live tigers which is inherently dangerous. We take no responsibility for your safety” type of thing. I’m sure that this may not seem strange to you since in the west we would expect to sign a waiver of sorts when doing something dangerous. The weird thing about this was that in my 4 months of traveling and participating in dangerous activities, this was the first place that actually had a waiver. It kind of freaked me out, I actually had to stop and think for a second…damn…this could be dangerous. For a brief second thoughts of Siegfried and Roy came to mind. Tigers do attack, however, you only live once.


tigerThere were about 10 big tigers in a canyon manned by monks and volunteers of sorts. I didn’t really understand why the monks had these tigers, but I was certainly excited to pet them. We got in line and realized that this tiger petting was a fine oiled, deadly machine. They made you take off any sunglasses, purses, or hats that you were wearing and also made you cover up any red color that you were wearing – these tigers were finicky. You would get two volunteers assigned to you, one that took your camera from you to take pictures, and one that took your hand, held it and led you around to the tigers. They would not say anything to you, just hold your hand - it was all very creepy. They would sit you down behind a tiger and put your hand on the tiger’s back, soon the paparazzi would start to take a bunch of photos of you and the tiger. The guide would take your hand again and lead you to another tiger….more paparazzi, and this continues for about 4 tigers before they took you back to the line and gave you your camera back. You never exchanged any words with the person - it was really strange but, I got my pictures!


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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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