Written by Uncle Traveling Matt
August brings about another post, and more adventure then you can shake a stick at…but you may always try of course. I am going to jump right into it as I’m at the border of Cambodia and Laos and the internet, while being quite slow and unreliable is also quite expensive too so no banter this month I’m afraid…oh of course there will be banter…anyway let me bring you up to speed from my last article.
By the time I got back from writing the blog the Khmer family I was staying at was having a party that was just winding down with only a few of the older men drinking and talking. One of the bike taxi drivers invited me out to a bar to drink a bit more though he had obviously been enjoying the celebration from day break (and quite possibly a few days before that). In other words he was in no shape to drive his moped around the city, and while I like a good cultural experience as much as the next guy, being a designated driver for a very drunk and very…shall I say, “looking for love”, Khmer guy is NOT my idea of a good time. In short after a few drinks and songs I couldn’t understand I excused myself from the party and went to bed…well I tried but the noise from karaoke was mind numbing right up until 11pm…the city went quiet at almost the strike of 11 and the party was obviously over (at least in the section of the town I was in).
The next day I left Siem Reap to head to Kratie and then out to Lao. I only got as far as Kapong Cham (another town nowhere near Kratie) where the bus dropped me off and faded into the distance. The city was CLOSED, there were 2 guest house’s open and that’s about it. Since one was called the Massage Guest House…I opted for the other one. I forget the name of it but I do remember it was full of bugs of all shapes and sizes, if nothing else this trip will cure me of any phobias I might have. So stuck I was for the night anyway, the next day I hopped a bus up to Kratie.
In time we arrived at Kratie, a day late and a headache in full bloom. Kratie is a small town that is pretty laid back. I mean it’s tiny really, there are freshwater Dolphins close here and so that brings a few tourists but otherwise that’s it. So I got off the bus with EXACTLY $6.37 USD in my wallet and all the
banks were closed (No there are no ATM’s here) so I was at the end of my journey until the bank opened up. I ate fruit for my meals and convinced the guest house to let me pay when I checked out and so there I sat now with less than $4USD in my pocket. The next morning I got into the bank and got some money…whew that was a bit closer than I wanted, after that I rented a peddle bike to ride out to see these Irriwady River Dolphins about 15Km away.
At the Dolphin watching place a Khmer family approached me and wanted to know if I wanted to go out in a boat to get closer, well of course I accepted and we even stopped on a sand bar and swam for a while. On the way into shore they invited me to a temple about 20Km away (they would drive me there) and so I accepted. Now it should be said that they not only drove me there but they talked with me the whole way and I assumed they would drive me the 20Km back to my bike…I was wrong, the minute we showed up at the temple they said good bye to me and there I was 20Km from my bike and 15 MORE from the guest house…WONDERFUL. So I had to hitch hike back to the bike to peddle back it really wasn’t that bad I guess just unexpected, in fact this whole leg of my journey was one big lesson in expecting the unexpected.
What about the dolphins you ask? Well there are only like 700 left in the world I was told, it doesn’t look good for them.
Take care, be strong, and remember…don’t be like me.