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Kratie

Written on: Monday March 3rd, 2008

A journal entry from: Southeast Asian Adventures!

It was yet another adventure getting to Kratie, the town of the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. The 6 hour bus ride from Phnom Penh turned into a 10 hour ride after the bus broke down and couldn't be fixed. We ended up on a pick up truck with about 20 other people complete with bags strapped onto the roof. I still can't figure out why Cambodian people bring 25kg bags of clams, piles of sticks and dozens of loaves of bread with them when they travel. Anyhow, I ended up in the back of the truck with 14 people and Alan had to ride on the roof on top of the bags with 5 other people - so crazy!! Luckily we were only 1 hour out of Kratie and the road was paved.

We made friends with 2 Australians who were also in the pick up truck, Annabelle and Craig, and ended up hanging out with them the entire time in Kratie. When we arrived in town, almost all of the hotels were full, so we shared a room with Annabelle and Craig the first night. After a night of beers and recovering from the uncomfortable bus and pick up ride, we went to bed early.

The next day we took motorbikes out to the Mekong river to see the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. There are only about 100 of them left, and 75 live in the Mekong near Kratie. We spent about an hour in the boat watching for dolphins, and we actually saw quite a few of them. Unfortunately, it's nearly impossible to photograph them, as they're quite unpredictable.

After the dolphins we took the motos down to the 'rapids' which is an area of fast running water in the river - not really rapids though. We walked around on the little islands in the river with our 4 Cambodian guides (who were great fun), then headed back into town. We arranged for a tour of the island across the river the next day.

The island tour was interesting and fun. We took the small ferry across the Mekong and spent the day visiting a palm farm, where we tasted palm juice and palm fruit, the house of one of our guides (he lives on a grapefruit farm, but the fruits weren't in season), and had a picnic along the river. The locals were quite surprised to see foreigners on their island and spent a lot of time watching us. The roads were narrow, dusty and bumpy, and we passed by a lot of farms and beautiful scenery. Our last stop was Sambok Mountain where we climbed the stairs to see a monastary and Buddhist temple.

It was Annabelle and Craig's last night in Kratie, so we went for dinner and had a few drinks to say good bye.

The next day Alan and I rented our own moto to drive around town. We had been going for about half an hour when we got a flat tire. We were pointed in the direction of a repair shop where we got it fixed, but 5 minutes later it was flat again. We repaired it again, and it immediately went flat again. We were frustrated and sick of walking the moto in the sun, so with a lot of hand gestures and body language, we were able to buy a new tire to ride back into town. Overall, an unsuccessful moto adventure.