Ben Oostdam's letter of May 23, 1955
from Bangkok to his fiancee and parents in Holland
(translated from Dutch), page 12
From then on it was a child's game. We followed easy trails, asked directions frequently and kept touching on the river which we followed anxiously. After another hour and a few coconuts, another gorge and a slippery crossing of a marsh we are back. Deep below us lies the river and across we see a large "town". We call a ferryman, and lower the scooter in the by now well kown cautious fashion. We lift the scooter into the sampan; I always lift the back, because the Thai are not too strong. Just another scare when we get into the current, then scouting the opposite shore for the most favorable and least steep incline. OK, the ferryman helps us push the scooter upslope, and after a short break we get up in the lumbershop where all women age 40 and over already stood awaiting. While still sweating, we take some drinks and pay the very old ferry man (Charon?). We then follow a muddy trail which took us to the mainroad after a few hundred yards. By then we had our fill of the jungle, and ended up seeing an elephant at work pushing a felled tree, which he did fantastically well.
Now the 150 kilometer trip back. Exactly the same route back, so we could stop at the home of Supharb's mom. She incredulously shakes her head at Mom's tales. We next stop at Ban Pong where both we and the scooter drink before we continue through the pitchdark night. So once in a while we enjoy lightning, but it does not rain. It is getting a bit monotonous and we count the kilometer posts. Some 20 kms from Bangkok we start seeing its reflecting light in the sky, and moving between giant bullfrogs (a delicacy here) we get into the suburbs. Next came a nasty stretch where the road was very slippery and we suddenly almost bumped into a large branch that had fallen across the entire road. We just missed hitting it; the car in front of us did not.
We are home! I leave Mom at the bridge and there is a bit of a strange ending when he asks me for a 100 baht advance since he is broke. However, the end of the month is near, our payday, and the exchange rate is favorable. I am exhausted when I get home at midnight and go to bed after a quick account to my two roommates, Jan and Carl.
Now I have to stop writing and go to the office, for which I am late already. Bye.
BLO fecit 20000703 -----
Autobiography - - - or go to
Ben Oostdam's websites