who ... moi?

a social butterfly: scared of much, but not of many. never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. not a fan of acronyms, snakes and angelina jolie. a HUGE fan of Fathead.

this blog is black for ENERGY-SAVING reasons.

thanks for your understanding.
if it's too dark, put your glasses on old one.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

natural wonders

for the remainder of our time on the island, we decided to move to cheaper accommodation – which actually had far more character than our previous place. we checked into a sweet little bungalow, rustically nailed together on the river's bed. in the mornings we lazed on hammocks as the river rushed beneath our deck. when evenings came, fellow travellers gathered on our balcony for sundowners. it was a very special place.


don det lacks many things … flushing toilets, hot water, electricity to name a few. what is certainly does not lack is raw, natural beauty. the immense delta of the river swells and tumbles on relentlessly. birds animate the skies. the sunsets blaze, unobstructed by little more than a few mangrove trees.

this part of the mekong that joins cambodia to laos, is also home to a very special, extremely rare and endangered creature – the fresh water Irrawaddy dolphin. the chance of spotting an irrawaddy in one's lifetime is close to none, so when we were offered a boat ride to possibly glimpse a dorsal fin, we obviously took it.

the locals try their best to keep track of the small pod, and we were told that they were last seen on the other side of the cambodian border. we would need to cross over, back into the country we'd just come from. the small wooden dug-out chugged along slowly, fighting the power of the current, for what seemed like several very uncomfortable hours. eventually we reached cambodia and then suddenly, the deafening engine was killed and we floated ashore of one of the many smaller islands.

we climbed off the boat, walked up the bank and there we sat, slightly confused as to what we were meant to be doing there. then as the silence settled, a school of about 10 irrawaddies appeared. they seemed less playful than their bottlenosed cousins, shyly breaking the surface with their stubby snouts and timid fins. and while their less-than-flamboyant natures didn't allow for any amazing photos, it was so special to be there viewing something that few people of our modern times have ever seen.

leaving the island, we floated away for as long as the current would allow us before starting up the engine again. i really appreciated the locals' apparent respect for these animals, and their awareness of keeping distant and quiet. the dolphins appeared to share in my appreciation, and swam right up and around our little wooden vessel as we left.

crossing back into laos, we followed the river's flow until we stopped at another island – on the other side of which, we were told, rumbled the largest waterfall in asia.

khone phapheng waterfall is not high, nor does the water cascade down into a bottomless mist.

what makes this waterfall the largest in asia is its frightening volume of water. the falls are a low wide landscape of deadly rapids.

the spray coming off them travels for hundreds of meters across.

the noise is deafening.

it's like no other waterfall i've ever seen.

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