26th July - Photos to follow...
Waking up by the riverside (Mekong River) and starting the day with a morning run by the river in Kanchanaburi made a nice change to the normal morning rush. After a yummy breakfast where some embraced their adventurous side by daring to order fruit! We then headed off to the train station where once we had navigated our way across the rails we got on a train heading for Nam Tok station for our first acclimatisation trek in Hellfire Pass. It’s fair to say it was no south west trains but the stunning views soon made up for the sore butts from the wooden seats. Overall the train journey was stunning, passing countless misty mountains and massive jungle rivers.
Once off the train we got onto what we can only call a Truck Tuk (half truck, half Tuk Tuk). We were dropped off at the Hellfire Pass museum where we got audio guides and started to look around the museum. This helped the group to understand the story behind the hellfire pass and made the actual trek a lot more meaningful. It was quite emotional as one film we saw showed the Allied troops just as they were captured looking healthy and fit...however, at the end they looked like stick insects, malnutrition, exhaustion and disease killed many (over 100,000...very sad!).
Lunch today gave us a welcome taste of home –Jam sandwichs. Many of us agreed a jam sandwich had never tasted so good! We then could avoid it no longer the trekking now had to begin! Steps is probably the best way to describe the next few hours. Down the steep rocky sides of the cutting into the rock proved quite easy but going back up them a few hours later proved slightly more challenging and caused us to get our sweat on. But Cliff spurred us on playing a game which he said would be fun called trains where the poor person at the back of the group had to somehow navigate their way to the front of the group when they were ‘chosen’ by Cliff ( a game which became slightly more challenging while ascending the steep steps at the end of the trek). The acclimatisation trek was a really good taste of our 6 day trek that is getting rapidly closer and helped us adjust and accept the fact that a permanent state of sweating awaits us. The trek was really rewarding and the whole group felt like we had achieved something which boosted team morale. How those guys managed to cut and prepare 420 km of track in 20 months is beyond belief.
We had a really nice evening where we met up with the other Royal School world challenge team who we had surprisingly bumped into the previous day. Our excitement was added to when we found out we had a $3 budget for dinner (a rare treat)! (Ed. Wooohoooo!!!!) Some even had their meals served to them with pineapples for plates! All together it was a really good, interesting day and we all learnt a lot and were grateful for our bed at the end of the night.
We’re all well (no illnesses at all) and happy to having an amazing experience...We miss you guys. Try not to worry.