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running away Traveling south east asia, china, australia, new zealand and america. wherever the mood takes me!


CAMBODIA | Friday, 14 November 2008 | Views [608]

I got the bus the next morning for kratie. The bus was an old one and the air conditioning was blowing straight down on top of me and I couldn't turn it off because it was broken. Just a gapping hole. There was a Khmer gentleman sitting beside me and he must be used to it because he balled up some paper and stuff it in the hole to stop it. It worked pretty well, there was just a little bit coming out instead of a big blast of air. He said to me that he always makes sure he has some paper with him to do that. So I guess its common on the buses in Cambodia.

The guy next to me was a really nice man. We ended up talking and I found out He was a smart man. He knew a lot of languages. He said he had studied to be a lawyer in indonesia. And that it was he favorite place and that the Indonesian are the nicest people you'll ever meet. He also said that years ago he was a guide at the temples in angkor wat and he said that the best time to actually see angkor wat itself is in the afternoon, because the gateway is facing west towards the sunset not the sunrise. It made sense. And the best time to see bayon was in the morning. I was thinking it was too bad I didn't know this before hand. I had an interesting conversation with him.

When we arrived to kratie, we said goodbye and I went and got myself a room for the night. I wasn't sure how long I was going to stay. I organised a trip to be brought down to where the boats left to go see the dolphins, for that afternoon.

I had lunch and I was looking in my lonely planet, and I decided I was going to go north to ban lung, and go some trekking. I decided I have to trek atleast once in each country I go too. So I was to leave the next day.

I went to see the dolphins. It was a really nice experience. I was put onto a boat with a group of three French people and an older man. Which was fine there wasn't too many of us. The boat started its engine and went up stream to where the dolphins are normally spotted. As we were approaching we saw one shape come up a couple of times in the distance and I thought, oh its going to be easy to see them. But I was wrong. When we got closer it disappeared and kept a look out for some more. When the boat got so far, the driver cut the engine and he started to paddle us against the current, to slow us down and stop us from going to far down river. And also we were more likely to see dolphins if the engine was off. We were looking around us and we still hadn't seen anything. I was thinking even if we didn't get to see them, it was a nice relaxing boat ride on the river, watching the sun sink in the sky.

Then to the left of us down stream a little we saw a shape come up, and then another one. There was two swimming together. So the boat driver let the current take a bit further down closer to where the dolphins were but they had disappeared again. It seemed that they came up for breath a couple of time and then they must be able to stay under for a long time. So I was thinking that they were going to surface up away from us somewhere else. But they surfaced again. Still pretty far away but it was in front of us. And then to our left one surfaced a little bit closer a couple of times. It was really nice. I noticed that the dolphins had a round head unlike the other dolphins I had seen before. It was more similar to the beluga whales in shape that I had studied than the dolphins.

They disappeared again after that and the driver was starting his engine to bring us back upstream. But there was also a steady stream of other boats that had left the pier and were making their way towards us. So we were on our own and more and it had gotten quite noisy. The boat I was on was great, cause the French people were whispering to each other as you were suppose to keep quiet as the dolphins are shy creatures. But some of the other boats weren't like that, and they would shout when they saw a dolphin come up. After that it just felt that all the boats were chasing the poor dolphins up stream to try and get a glimpse of them, so the rest of the ride wasn't that great. But I think we got the best viewing already so I didn't mind. I left the boat and got a lift back to my hotel, when I arrived back, there was the most beautiful sunset but unfortunately I missed most of it. I just got the end. The sky was so red, I had never seen it like that before. Kratie was a quiet town, and I had a quiet night. Which was just fine with me. Its nice to relax and do nothing, every now and again.

The next morning I got up to have a look around kratie before I left for my bus at half 12. I wandered around but there wasn't really anything to see. The place was really quiet and a little dirty. I was glad I wasn't staying another night. I went to get my bus a bit early as we had to wait for it beside a restaurant, so I decided I would get something to eat while I was waiting.

Half 12 came and went again. And there was still no sign of the bus. The guy from the bus office came over around one and said that the bus was delayed coming from Phnom Penh because the water festival finished yesterday and everyone was leaving this morning. He said he wasn't sure exactly when the bus would be here but he said around half 3. as I didn't have anywhere else to go, I decided I would hang out where I was a read a book while I was waiting. I was glad I wasn't the only one, there was a French couple also waiting with me. So the three of us just hung around waiting for the bus.

Half 3 came and went again, and still no sign of the bus, he then said that it would be another hour. What were we to do, so we continued to wait. I even tried to nap a little on the 2 seater I had taken over from the restaurant, which had closed at this stage as it was only open for breakfast and dinner.

After 5, he came back to us and said the bus was on the way, but he wanted to bring us out of the town to the turn off for ban lung to save time, so the bus didn't have to come into town and turn around again. That was fine with me, the sooner we got on the bus the better. The bus journey was to take 6 hours and as it was we were going to arrive quite late at night.

We got lifts there on motorbikes and they dropped us at the turning. I would have been worried if they had just dropped us and left us there, which they did but one driver stayed behind to wait with us for the bus. When the bus arrived it was quite full. I had to sit beside a Khmer man and the couple got a couple of seats together in the back seat. In books where is says that the back seats of buses are reserved for monks are out of date, they seem to like the front of the bus like the rest of the locals. Closer to the front the better. Well we were finally on the bus and on our way.

About half way I guess we stopped the bus for a rest stop. There I met another western lady on the bus, and she also turned out to be French So when we went to sit down I asked the other French couple could we join them. But when they all found out that each other were French, we started talking in French and I was pretty much left out of the conversation. But we didn't stop for long and we got back on the bus to continue our journey. I was dosing on and off on the bus, so I'm not to sure how long or how far we had gotten but we stopped on the road again, and from looking out the window there seemed to be a row of cars waiting that we bypassed. It turned out there was an accident on the road and no one was going by till they sorted it out. We all got out of the bus, out of curiosity more than any thing but I didn't want to see anything, just to know what happened.

It was dark out and all we saw was what ever light from a couple of cars were showing. After awhile a car pulled up, it had flashing lights so I think it was a cop car, but seemed to be a pickup truck and atleast two shapes were carried towards it and put in the back. We think it was a couple of bodies, but we don't know for certain. The car than drove off. In the mean time their seemed to be someone injured out there. Every now and then we could here crying and whaling, either by the injured party or by some one with that person.

After what seemed like ages the cop car came back, and we believe took the injured person and put them on the back and brought them off somewhere. Hopefully to a hospital. But we couldn't see much in the dark and the car head lamps were shining towards us so we could just see people walking back and forth in front on the lights when they disappeared from time to time. After that it was OK for us to get back on the bus, and it took off again. We didn't arrive into ban lung until after midnight and we were shattered. I was just happy to get into bed even though I was starving, I couldn't eat that late and waited till morning instead.

Tags: irrawaddy dolphins, kratie


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