Ben Oostdam's letter of May 23, 1955
from Bangkok to his fiancee and parents in Holland
(translated from Dutch), page 6
We track back to the main road, experiencing some problems passing by an oxencart and manoeuvring between fleeing and panicky cattle. All of them carry around their necks clearly ringing wooden bells. On the Mainroad we turn left and continue through gently sloping terrain. After an hour, the road deteriorates badly. Fallen trees and deep potholes filled with water are, however, just fore-runners of the worse conditions to follow.
We turn onto a track leading southward and suddenly are in the midst of a true bambooforest. Peculiar
terrain, flat and full of bushes and tracks. Here colorful birds fly overhead and large lizards and iguanas scoot along in front of us. They certainly know how to race, with their tails sticking up in the air comically which makes it look as if they are flying, too.
Then follows a sudden descent and we reach a pond where people are bathing and paddling around in hollowed out tree trunks.
Again, lots of commotion. Which way to the Waterfall- our final destination? Can we get there?Yes, full speed ahead, through the pond at the fringes of which we see hundreds of beautiful butterflies hovering. On the other side I have to ride up a steep hill with slippery cart tracks in which I almost get stuck. While I keep on skidding sideways and spurting uphill, the people down below have such fits of laughter that they almost drown...On a flat spot are a few huts where they tell us that, to get to the Waterfall, we'd have to cross the river at Bandon. Is that far? Yes,say some; no, hold others. Can we do it by scooter? Yes! No! One really cannot make sense of it, and I have experienced that several times. "Not far" may mean an hour,and "40 kms" may in reality be but a few hundred meters...it is also exactly the opposite of what you'd expect: when you ask an old man if some place is far, he is bound to say "no" ; yet it will take you hours to get there .By contrast, a young man will say it is "very far", and you'll be there in a few minutes...They were united, however, in the opinion that yonder mountain, some 3 km away,was lying in Birma, so that we were clearly close to the Birmese border. We did, however, have to go back and cross the pond again, this time together with a caravan of sleepy oxen pulling carts loaded with long bamboo stakes. I did take a few photographs and am, of course, very curious how they will develop; my expectations are low.
So back a distance, then a right turn, and one more fall in the mud; there will be lots to follow! Nevermind, the scooter is a wonderful machine. By turns, we exhort and praise it, and it works along faithfully.
BLO fecit 20000602 -----
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