Part 22 - Bridge Over the River Kwai

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DURING THE TRIP to Kanchanaburi, there was enough time for Debbie's parents to get to know Kev and Skylab. Skylab had told them about Thailand, the monarchy, the climate and the landscape. Kev told them about the pluses and negatives for a foreigner living in the country.

Debbie's parents told the pair to call them by their Christian names, Prunella and Peter. "Everyone calls me Pru."

"And I'm always called Peter, not Pete, I've never known why, as it would not worry me. Even as a child, always Peter, even Pru calls me Peter."

Kev and Peter were now getting on well, which pleased the ladies.

First, as they arrived in Kanchanaburi's town centre, they went to meet Gatts' colleague at the main police station. They asked if they had any information which would help in the search for Debbie; the police hadn't heard of any female visitors getting into trouble or had an accident, a quick call to the local hospitals confirmed it.

Then ducking the rain, they went to the tourist information office to collect maps and leaflets on some sights they thought would have interested Debbie. With armfuls of colourful brochures, they went in search of accommodation. The River Kwai Resort, next to the famous bridge seemed ideal, also, as it was pouring, they didn't want to go any further.

"Let's order some food in the dining area and study the booklets."

"Yes, maybe we'll get a flash of inspiration," hoped Pru.

Food came and went, snacks came and went, coffee cups mounted up, they sat cluelessly. Skylab suddenly brightened up, "There was a mention of a vehicle, was it a server in a small restaurant who saw them get into a car?"

"I'm lost," said Peter, "How does that help?"

"They must have rented it or bought it somewhere?" suggested a keen Skylab.

Peter and Pru looked lost. Then Kev looked as if he was on to something.

"If they registered the car in Bangkok, we are no nearer, as we can't check all dealers or rentals in the city, but if it was from around here, we may even get an address?"

All four were cheered. They had something to chase.

"What was the make of the car mentioned?"

"A dark Merc, no need to check with Gatts, I'm sure it was a Mercedes the restaurant owner mentioned," Kev was not that interested in cars, however, he had a passing interest in new models, he could dream of owning a luxury sports car.

Skylab was already on the phone to Hua Hin.

"Yes, Kev, you're correct. I thought I'd better check anyway, we have known you to be wrong."

She laughed, they all joined her. It was the first light moment for hours.

"Next is to find all the local dealers and places that rent that make of car."

Skylab hurried to the reception and grabbed their phone book before she opened it. She spoke to a staff member sitting by the phone.

"If we needed to rent a Mercedes, who should we contact?" she asked the receptionist. "I don't think anyone rents cars like that, only Japanese cars, Honda Nissan and Toyota, are the affordable ones. If you want the top of the range models, you must go to Bangkok. Wait a minute, I'll ask Avis."

A negative answer came back from all the well-known rental companies.

"How about sales?" urged Skylab.

"Do you want to buy one? My brother can help you, he sells cars?"

They exchanged telephone numbers, the young salesperson soon met them. He will come even if he got soaked getting there.

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