The custard apple tree above in Kanchanaburi is a rare surprise. We do not get to see such trees in the urban setting. I found it fascinating because the day before I had bought some large custard apples in a shopping plaza.
It seems that improved and hybrid varieties of this fruit is grown in Thailand. Same is the case with guava. At one time it was said that a variety of seedless guava was being hybridized.
Placed below is another snap close to the custard apple plant with a view of the river:
The tree above is a massive Bombax Malabaraise, standing guard in front of the War Museum in Kanchanaburi.It gives you a sense of history with a tinge of sadness as in the museum you wonder about the soldiers who did not return to their homes.One could know from the imagge below how large the tree is at the base of the trunk:
The tree rather beckons visitors to sit down for a while and ponder over the futility of war, while watching the river below flowing by.
In 1989 I had a chance to visit Kanchanaburi, but I missed it in a bout of laziness. But when the opportunity came, it came back with many rewards. The biggest was that I was with my wife. If in 2008 the river could be so beautiful and pristine, it might have been more in a state of nature in 1989! Or perhaps, people have taken care of the river and maintained it as it was.
From Bangkok, we first went to the famous floating market at Daimnoensaduak. The floating market remains as it was, only a little bit more crowded. On the way out we saw the exquisite Post Office above. It seems that a competition was going on through post cards for football teams, so many customers were writing letters.
When we reached Kanchanaburi, on the way the Tescho Lotus presented a festive face. The Bus Bay by the river also had many shops with jewellery in semi-precious stones. All around there were clothes shops and varied food kiosks. The place seemed like the famous night bazaar in day time. The river however was awesome. The water seemed to flow with great speed and this structure below, just by the Kwai Bridge presented the charm of an indolent Dak Bungalow.
The blue and green mountains curtain off the river in to a shallow gorge. Travelling in the water I found that the power speed boats were too fast. One needs the silent move of a boat to experience the natural force of the river.
The above image is quintessentially Thai for me. The desire to import a lotus from a lake, a pond or a water-body close to the river; and put it in a container in the courtyard or terrace, is the most serene effort to bring the heavens home. Not much of a traveller myself, I was delighted to land in Bangkok along with my consort in the sleek geodesic airport of Suvarnabhumi, which resembles the Paris Airport quite a lot. On the way to the city I passed through Ramindra Road ( The Central Ramindra is very conspicuous), Chaengwattana Road (The Siam Jusco is closed and deserted) and the much-fly-overed Laksi Intersection. The twin-cubes of Laksi Plaza, however, are still there. It is now called the IT Plaza.
Strange how familiar places attract us. With excellent hospitality all around, it has been the best time I have spent in my life along with my wife. The very first day me and my wife moved over to MBK where I showed the familiar places that I used to frequent in 1989. The same ambiance, the same food courts and virtually the same shops. The light, the glitter and the movement of people continues to be as enchanting. The same place in the ground floor has the artist making sketches. The only change seemed to be the parking lot by the Hotel Pratmuan Princess. Yes, I had come back to where I once belonged, with my better-half around with me. So to say, there won’t be any homesickness, like it was in 1989. I sign off by posting another beautiful photograph, snapped from a branch of Tesco Lotus.
I recently spent sometime in Barcelona,a great city where you could find priceless art and sculptures on the road in La Rambla. The city is so perfect that if you see Barcelona in Google earth, it would look like the drawing board of an architect where a drawing has been finished.
Especially in the Fixample (The Extension), designed by Cerda, each block is open on all the four sides with an octagonal design, so that the intersections are wide and the horse-drawn coaches could turn easily in the expanded corners. Hotel Majestic for example has the Passeig de Gracia on south, Caller de Valencia on the east, Carrer de Pau Claris on north and Carrer de Mallorca on the west. On could circumambulate each block on the wide foot paths.
No electric cables or thick power lines anywhere around. I stayed in Passeig de Gracia which possibly is the most beautiful street I have ever seen. The colourful people however reminded me of Bangkok. Lots of shops, cafes, eateries and incredible architectural monuments.
I would like to see some areas like this in Bangkok.