The mighty Mekong

Trip Start Nov 26, 2007
Trip End Nov 26, 2008

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Where I stayed
canthra hotel (or something like that!)

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Friday, February 8, 2008

It was with heavy hearts we sat on the bus to Kratie but we arrived in the sleepy little town that is on the banks of the Mekong. It truely is a mighty river and at Kratie is about 1/2 mile wide. Kratie has such a lovely feel to it (like Kep) very laid back with a slow pace. People still chat away to Tom in Khymer and really cant believe that brown people live in England. We luckily found a guesthouse as everywhere is busy becuse of chinese new year and quite expensive for us at $7 a night. Its got a telly - which is exciting but more excitingly great drying potential (which is as important as having good hiding places when looking for a place to stay) with two windows and sturdy anchor points. Am truely missing the pegless washing line (we accidently left it in vietnam) but the ball of string we bought is doing well! Anyway the reason anyone comes to Kratie is to spot the rare Irrawaddy dolphin which is a shy freshwater dolphin of which there are only about 75 left and they inhabitat the Mekong between here and the Lao border. We got up early today and hired a scooter and rode to the dolphin pool 15km out of town - in the dry season (now) they are confined to the deep pools. I was suprised as there were hardly any boats on the water and at least three dolphins feeding and swimming around the area. Amazing to see, lovely creatures and seemed larger than normal dolphins - but maybe that was because we were in a small boat. Afterwards we stopped by the CRDT office and saw Channy who explained about the mekong and other projects they are involved in. Have a look at there website and CoL'ers get an exchange visit sorted out! They are doing some amazing work its just crazy they have the same problems....bad managers, no money and a government who doesnt undersatnd. Ok, Ok so maybe we dont have corrupt police and government where if you pay enough you can get away with anything. This is why the Mekong is still being fished around the dolphin pools, chemicals are still being pumped in by china and the numbers of dolphins are dropping by 60% a year - they will be extinct within 5 - 10 years. Very tempted to volunteer for a couple of months and tom and i are now wandering why we just didnt get an open ticket and stay away till our money runs out, rather than set a retun date (mothers i can hear you gasping from here!). Dont worry our cash wont last much past a year and we have to get our flight home on 26 november....or buy a new ticket! Going more rural tomorrow, up into the NE hopefully there will be internet access. Definately elephants, motorbikes and waterfalls all at 30 degrees! Did I say how much we are loving Cambodia!!!
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