Have you checked the picture gallery recently? I’ve been trying to catch up with the pictures lately and I’ve uploaded 3 new albums: Thailand 1, Cambodia and Laos. Thailand 2 is nearly ready but not quite. Now there are pictures up to December 1st, 2012, back when I was entering Thailand for the second time. Check them out! There’s a lot of beautiful sunsets, strange people, crazy travellers and of course, the temples of Angkor!
You know, in all the movies about Indochina, at nap time when it’s hottest there is always a room with a ceiling fan.
The fan is always moving at an impossibly slow speed that can never cool any room in that heat. There’s usually also a bed in the room and possibly a couple making love.
Those scenes are all fake, I tell you. All of them. I’ve been in South East Asia around 2 months so far and I’ve spent one full month it what used to be called Indochina and maybe it is hot and maybe there are small rooms in wooden shacks with blinds and a view to the street and maybe also couples do make love when it’s hottest outside but never in all this time did I see such a contraption. Never. Ever. They all look like this:
Cruising through Cambodia along my favorite river ever, the Mekong, I stopped for a couple of nights in Kratie. It was going to be only one night but life by the Mekong is so peaceful that you always want to stay one more night. It turns out that in this part of the Mekong river live 75 Irrawady dolphins. Only 75 live between Kratie and the Lao border, it is an endangered species. There are more in other countries but only these in Cambodia.
Fifteen km North of Kratie is where you have to go and everybody tells you so, from to the Lonely Planet to the guesthouse manager. I am always a bit wary of this animal spotting tours/expeditions because either you don’t get to see the beast or it’s crowded with other tourists snapping photos just like you. None of that happened. Since I’m of the late-sleeper chronotype, I didn’t go at sunrise but at around 2PM, when it’s hottest. Best ever, I was almost the only tourist dolphin spotting at the time and I saw loads of them.
At first it’s a bit strange, you don’t know what to look for and the boat driver shoos you to show you where the dolphins are but of course, when you have turned in his direction and then to the direction he’s pointing at, they are gone. But then you start hearing it, when they come out to breath. The sound of them exhaling is what you should be listening for. Looking is almost useless because you don’t know where they are going to surface.
And the water comes alive with dolphins around you everywhere, they are pretty shy and don’t come close to the boat when the engine is on but the boat driver turns it of and goes on with the oar. At some point there was dolphins on either side of the boat and I didn’t know which way to look. I was in awe, it was absolutely beautiful.
And I will leave you with a book recommendation: Douglas Adams and Mark Cawardines’s Last chance to see.
Oh, and they say also that Kratie has some of the most beautiful Mekong sunsets. I let you be the judge of that.
Tonight, I feast on my favorite water! After spending the day under the unforgiving Cambodian sun, I found this beauty at the local mini-mart. Really, I’ve never felt myself dehydrate so fast, not even in the Uzbek deserts and I’ve been drinking a lot of soda water for lack of proper fizzy mineral water (even that abomination called Schweppes Soda water that Schweppes dare only sell in the third world). The last country on my road where there’s been proper sparkling water was Kazakhstan.
« I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it’s because in addition to the fact that the sea changes, and the light changes, and ships change, it’s because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea – whether it is to sail or to watch it – we are going back from whence we came. »
John F. Kennedy
And here I am, by the sea, without want or urge to leave. I know there are many roads to ride and many sights to see and many things to thing(?) but the sea is so powerful that I think I will stay one more day. Or maybe not. The sun sets on the sea every day as it has done for ages here but every time is just as beautiful. So beautiful that instead of getting the camera to snap a photo, I just get into the sea to swim.