Ben Oostdam's letter of May 23, 1955
from Bangkok to his fiancee and parents in Holland
(translated from Dutch), page 9
on which my zigzag technique could easily fail. But see how a good dose of persistence succeeds, together with the engine in first gear. We got up there, broken men, and when we arrived there was no road or trail in sight. "Go straight," they shouted to us from the other bank, which looked a lot lower than this one even though it was some 100 feet high. O yah, go straight, if there is a nettlefield ahead which you cannot overlook - in the literal sense of the word... I did curse a bit, and felt the urge to go back. But it started to be a matter of prestige to reach the falls. So we cut across the nettles and indeed, there was a trail though full of bushes and nettles which made it almost invisible. In the beginning it was easy because there was only a single trail, but after a kilometer or so of muddling along the trouble started: trails to the side and cross-"roads'. Fortunately, we met an old man with a carrying stick, and he would point us the way. Mom got off, while I took the scooter in first gear behind them down the miserable narrow trail. The man kept on talking and was very honored. The path became worse and passed through rocky terrain, which you could negotiate easily on a bike, but where the broad scooter kept receiving bumps or had to be lifted across. So temporarily I did not stop cursing yet, but enjoyed myself a lot, nevertheless.
After a few hundred yards of superrocks we arrived at a small river, which people with bikes would jump from rock to rock to cross carrying the bike on their necks, after which they would not put it down yet till they crossed the stretch of bad terrain following. Not so this man, who found a long stone which almost reached to the other side, which he carefully followed across to the end, at which he took a deep breath, clamped the scooter tight between his legs and covered the remaining gap of a foot and a half. A short break, a cigaret break for the Thai, some rice for me and a drink of water from the creek, where beautifull butterflies also came to drink. A veritable drinking oasis for tigers and leopards, it seemed, and they did indeed come here, confirmed the old man; but only in the early evening, so now it was safe.
Onward again, because the engine had to be kept running. If it would stop, we could not push-start it here without a running start. I began to get accustomed to dealing with the rocks which required a different technique than you would expect, because you have to take into account the scooter's broad back and its kickstart. If I really had to squeeze between two rocks, about the toughest job, I pushed the scooter ahead as far as I could, put my legs on the rocks and had Mom lift the back of the scooter up and over.
BLO fecit 20000630 -----
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