Translation of Ben Oostdam's letter of May 23, 1955 (2498 in Thai chronology)
from Bangkok to Lony Lameris, his fiancee, and his parents in Holland...page1

I will take recourse again to the old trick and type a letter
with carbon copies notwithstanding my stiff wrists.

I have to backtrack a bit for Dad and Mom:
we left Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. on my Vespa scooter with my (fellow bank-employee)
Prince "Mom" on the rear seat,
The gentle rain had just stopped and riding at a decent pace we soon reached Nakhon Pathom with its large pagoda.
Nothing extraordinary happened except that I barely missed a reckless individual crossing the road, the fool...
Anyhow, the heart palpitations soom subsided and the rest of the weekend I only had to cope with suicidal chickens and dogs.
Especially the chickens are very stupid, starting out running in the right direction but at the last moment trying to get under your wheels.
After these first 50 kilometers, the area gets more hilly and forested. The road runs south, with a branch to Hua Hin and southern Thailand. Then there's the village of Ban Pong which, of course, looks like any Thai village, with a paved or hardened main road bordered on both sides with a broad strip of mud which pecking chickens, swimming geese and ducks, rooting pigs with sagging heavy bellies, and playing children. Next some type of gutter, behind which a concrete or hardened floor on which stands the house, consisting of sides and back only. So you can look directly into every house on the ground floor; if there is a second story, the front is closed off, of course, otherwise the kids would just walk out, you see.

Of every three houses, two are coffee shops. There also are a lot of dressmakers and barbers. Most villages border on a river with the main street parallel to it and narrow lanes perpendicular to it. These lanes are crowded with vendors and their temporary shops. The rears of the houses often overhang the riverbanks.

The villages are always busy. Under the tree, little old ladies sit and cackle with their toothless mouths which are some ugly color of red and black because of their chewing beetlenut. The elderly women still wear some type of folded pants as are still worn by dancers, which looks pretty hot considering the climate. Children as well as adults ride their bikes in all directions, a life threatening proposition. About the only thing that sets Bang Po apart from other Thai villages is the endless number of baskets all over the place. These are locally woven and some are big enough for all of you to move into.

Last year the entire village burned down to the ground, something which happens regularly in this country. Then the King, passing through on his way to a summer residence, stops by to ask the Governor how things are going, and gives him a check for fifty thousand baht to aid.

Links to Thailand - - - BLO fecit 20000302 --- continue to: next page (2) or go to:
p.3 -- p.4 -- p.5 -- p.6 -- p.7 -- p.8 -- p.9 -- p.10 -- p.11 -- p.12

return to: Contents of Autobiography - - - or go to Index of Ben Oostdam's websites