Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Ben Oostdam's letter of May 23, 1955
from Bangkok to his fiancee and parents in Holland
(translated from Dutch), page 8


Back to Mom...harder than I realized, because only at the end I had thought of it to mark an arrow at each of the dozens of trail-crossings I had passed earlier, in true Boy Scout fashion. That's why I had to trace back so once in a while to find my footmark. But when the ground was too hard and my expertise failed to find my own track, I had to rely on my loud voice. Fortunately, Mom was nearby and I could take a short cut to get back to the scooter. Although I was happy to see it back, it did not start, so we put it in second gear, pushed it and got on the way again. Mom is getting a master at the art to jump off when things look bad, run along, and jump back on again when I am going full speed - which is pretty slow under the circumstances. Bandon lies along the river, of course, and there are three spots along the steep banks which are used as skidways for bamboo poles.


In the river itself they are busy tying them together into rafts.
A nice view, so I take far too many photographs
Knowing how remote shots tend to be rendered poorly, however beautiful the real scene is. I'll have to consult with Phailbul one day to find out if some type of filter might help.

(funny, while translating this in the year 2000, I take dozens of shots every time I pick up my digital camera! What a happifying improvement, including the zoom)
We have to cross the river, but cannot do so in the tiny boat which people use to cross here. However much I venture, this is the limit. And I do venture way too much on this trip, considering the risk of engine problems when there's no one around for miles' but I count on the help of some Thai and his elephant or buffalo.
Now, for a goodly sum of money I charter a raft and four man to pole us across. But first we have to descend the awkwardly steep 100 foot slope which at first sight appeared impossible. But it went fine, with me pressing the brakes the people behind me who should have kept me back actually had to push - I played it safe because I knew that once I'd move it would go faster and faster. So we just advanced inch by inch. We lifted the scooter aboard, slowly pushed it out and poled upstream along the banks for a bit, before going out to the main river. Mom borrowed a cloth, turned it into a swimming suit and plunged into the river. I followed his example, and it was utterly refreshingly cool. Because of the swift current I could barely stand while the rafts shot past me.
On the other side I changed into short whites with boots, causing much excitement among the people on the other bank. I then asked where the road was. O, that starts up there. Only then did I realize what a big risk we were taking, because this was a steep and overgrown bank, (on which)


BLO fecit 20000630 ----- continue to: next page (9) or go to:
p.1 ---- p.2 ---- 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