A Yucky Hole In Kanchanaburi
I have a hole in my leg. It is an unpleasant hole that I hope will soon go away.
I am in the small town of of Kanchanaburi which i suspect rings no bells for most, although the film The Bridge Over The River Kwai probably does. If you have a few minutes to spare there is an interesting read here that gives a brief insight and shows the rewriting of history by Hollywood. I also find the defence of the Japanese commandant by the British commanding officer at the war crime trials very interesting and an example of human goodness and belief in truth overcoming the desire for revenge.
Kanchanaburi these days is better known as a popular destination for young Thai weekend party goers. They travel here on party buses, which, whilst looking like my idea of hell to be on board, do make me chuckle. These busses are brightly painted with cartoon characters and on board is a blaring disco complete with flashing coloured lights and a dance floor full of people franticly gyrating their bodies and waving their arms in the air. Would never be allowed it in the sanitised West I feel sure. There is also a smattering of foreign tourists here, and I am of course one of them. Me and my wonky leg.
As I mentioned, the hole is not nice, it is disturbingly large and disturbingly yucky. I am also told that it is disturbingly swollen, but due to it’s proximity relative to my eyes I have to take the word of others on this.
Although I was aware that there was a slight swelling on my leg it was the blood chilling shriek let out by a friend that made me consider that some action need be taken.
“How are you?” she asked when I went to visit her at her cafe. “Ohh, fine”, I said “although I did have a rather restless night last night, perhaps a little fever that seems to be gone now, and I have this thing on my leg”. I rolled up my trouser leg and she let out a fearful cry. Soon she was dashing around collecting a variety of items that would, she assured my each time she passed through the room, all come together to make my leg better. Once she had all she needed she sat by my side, put my leg on a stool, and, from the collection she picked a handful of cotton buds and a plastic bottle of blue liquid. She applied the liquid to my open wound and began delving around inside it with a cotton bud. She wore a look of intense concentration and had I not known that she is a good and kindly soul I may have thought that she was perhaps enjoying this rather. Once in the open wound the blue fluid gave the distinct impression that the fiery furnace of biblical times was burning within my leg. Despite my protests she assured me that she should continue and that a good clean out was doing me the world of good, and whilst I was not behaving exactly as Bond would under torture I was never the less being a ‘brave little soldier’. She then went on to excitedly explain how she has been waiting for quite some time for a poor sod such as I to turn up with a festering wound of some note for her to try her new healing oil on.
Whether it was the oil or the blue stuff or the poking around with cotton buds, or simply a part of the healing process I do not know; but after a couple of hours the periphery of the wound went black. A pair of curious Scandinavians examined it and suggested that it looked very much like a bullet wound. They then went on to discuss tropical diseases, insect and reptile bites and what I though to be a surprisingly large amount of friends who, having had similar maladies to mine had lost a variety of limbs. I went home to whimper and sob for a while.