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Ben Oostdam's letter of May 23, 1955
from Bangkok to his fiancee and parents in Holland
(translated from Dutch), page 2


We continue riding along the river; we only get an occasional glimpse of it, because it is confined between steep banks in this area. Between the banks and the road lies a fringe of forest with a few plantations and small houses. Coconut palms galore.
On the other side of the road lie flat fields with deep waterwells not unlike those around Groenlo in Holland, remember?

Behind there lies the embankment on top of which the Burma Death Railroad ran, every tie of which represents one dead slave laborer -prisoner of war, as they say. Hard to conceive in this peaceful environment. Dijkstra and Coleman (fellow bankemployees in Bangkok, who stayed behind after having worked on the railroad during the second world war also did not appear to have suffered much, thin tawny guys as they are.)They were impressed by the friendliness and help of the local Thai.)

Mom showed me the locations of the Japanese camp sites. Without doubt they were tough guys and excellent soldiers. They were responsible for the construction of the entire road to Burma, of which now only the first part is still maintained.
So once in a while we see some cows among the buffaloes, but they are small and skinny versions of our Frisians, and not kept for milking.
In the far distance over the hills, dark threatening clouds packed together and the sky was pierced by lightning flashes. A beautiful sight, but when it became as black as ink and the road condition worsened, it started to rain on top of us. Gently at first, so I just put on Dad's rubber raincoat, but then harder and harder. Mom had no coat, but used my Southwester rainhat; this made him look like a Chinese, he muttered.
Suddenly, the rains started pouring by bucketloads and whirlwinds made riding just about impossible. We stopped at a small house along the road exactly 111kms from Bangkok, riding the scooter underneath a roof where a dog took the opportunity to bite my leg. Nevermind about that, I was well protected by my new boots which served me so well on this trip.
Two shy girls who were sitting there were joined shortly afterwards by the most hospitable housewife you can imagine. I may as well confess that I fell soon head over heels in love with her, she was so kind... So friendly, simple, helpful and soft-voiced, in strong contrast to the harsh dissonant and moany voices one hears around here sometimes. And she was beautiful, too!...Dozy (Lony), do not be jealous, it was quite innocent.
She definitely stole my heart when she suddenly dropped the word "VESPA", without being able to read English or Mom and I having talked about my scooter.
BLO fecit 20000520, corr.20010108 ----- continue to: next page (3) or go to:
p.1 ---- p.4 ---- p.5 ---- p.6 ---- p.7 ---- p.8 ---- p.9 ---- p.10 ---- p.11 ---- p.12


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