Friday, March 14, 2008

Small town Kratie, big time memories.

Elegant boulevards thanks to ze French!

Our dolphin spotting boat.

Glorious sunsets everyday - pic by Jem




Bringing hope to people in need...








Duck foetus anyone?

Kratie, 1958 or 2008?

Good luck or answered prayer - our Dolphin spotting trip was a success. The launch point is 15km out of town and we scootered there 3 up, passing quiet and friendly villages. Not longer than five mins in the mighty Mekong River, a family of 4/5 dolphins surfaced and played around our boat. It was exciting spotting these beautiful mammals just coming up so gracefully for air and it was a challenge to take their pic. Several other boats too immediately gathered around us and we just were awe strucked to see such magnificient and graceful animals. In this part of the Mekong near Kratie lies numerous islands (esp during dry season) and we landed on one measuring about 10 by 4 m.

This little expedition for the Kratie Dolphins apparently made the top 20 best outdoor Asean adventures in this US travel site -

http://gorp.away.com/gorp/location/asia/seasia/top_twenty18.htm

Our gracious hosts, Tokyo and Sith, later brought us to the Kampi Rapids where bamboo shaded shelters lined by the fast flowing river. Lying on a hammock, listening to natural water symphony and just enjoying the cool breeze was a delight words cannot adequately describe.

Rural Kratie is a peaceful 3 street provincial town by the Mekong that seems oblivious it is 2008. We rode on a horse drawn cart, passed languishing French bungalows along wide tree-lined boulevards and savoured the serene country lifestyle for a few days. I enjoyed cycling my CM micro-bike in the morning and was surprised to see how busy and bustling the market was. As usual, squealing kids were fascinated to see a 8" wheeled bike and crowded around for a photo.

It was also a joy to visit the Provincial Hospital to see Cil at work - providing consultations to Cambodian Physios and helping out with patients. They taught an elderly lady who suffered a stroke several months ago, to learn how to walk again and the smile on her face was heartwarming. Also, a little Celebral Palsy toddler was treated and his young parents were shown techniques to help his physical development. Its times like this I wished I had the healing touch!

We were introduced to two types of Khmer food while in Kratie - Duck foetus and Beef on hot plate. As much as our Cambodian friends tried to persuade us to eat the foetus, I was squirming as it looked like those shock tactic ads by anti-abortion groups. Eating the foetus was supposed to make you "strong". But we truly enjoyed this hot plate dinner called "Ko Lam Phnom" or Cow on the Hill (literal translation) where small slices of fresh beef are cooked over a hot pot that looked like a small hill. Eaten with a special fermented soy bean paste and washed down with cold beer, it was heaven! Jem insisted we had to have it again for our last dinner there.

Our trip ended too soon but I am reminded again that our Creator is keenly interested and involved in all aspects of our life, even spotting dolphins. Who needs luck when our lives are in His sure hands?

2 comments:

Right-side Up said...

What in the world is the 6th pix from the top???

Oldyonfoldy said...

Looks terrible doesn't it? Duck foetus la. They put 2 pieces in the soup. They also eat it roasted.

I have eaten fried insects before but this one, I could not stomach!