|This little fella is about a foot long|
A short discussion followed between us and I suggested that buying 2 tickets would not necessary guarantee him 2 seats – we had heard stories of 25 people (plus luggage,motorbikes and livestock) being squashed into an 11 seater minibus so buying a ticket didn’t seem to guarantee any seat to yourself at all never mind the luxury of space for a very tall man to stretch out but Paul thought it was worth a short and decided to shell out the extra $7.
|Sunset over the river|
On a positive note, the weight of the passengers and various goods meant that the driver could not reach the eye watering speeds we have experienced on other occasions so ironically the journey felt mildly safer than others.
|On the boat waiting for dolphins|
We also stopped at a couple of small villages where locals were plying their wares and piles of fried tarantulas were offered up for sale. We had seen these before and still did not feel the urge to taste this particular Cambodian delicacy. The number of spiders that are caught, fried and presumably consumed beggars belief. It's a wonder they are not extinct although a friend tarantula is a good tarantula in my book.
In all the journey took about 6 hours which by Cambodian standards was quite reasonable.
We reached our destination feeling a little squashed and were deposited in the market square in central Kratie where we were approached by a tuk tuk driver who unbeknown to us had been sent to meet us by our hotel. This was most welcome and saved us the hassle of haggling a price when we had no idea how much the price should be.
|There is a dolphin here, honest|
Once again, it was hot. We were only in Kratie for 3 nights and our only reason for visiting was to see the famous endangered species of Irrawaddy river dolphins. The heat didn’t really encourage us to venture out exploring for very long or very far.
|Another one, honest|
On the second day we travelled by tuk tuk to the section of the river where you are apparently guaranteed to see the Irriwaddy dolphins. We weren't too sure whether we would actually see them but headed off full of optimism. The drive takes about an hour and is a bit of a treat in itself as it is very picturesque and passes through lots of little villages but the ride is very bumpy and taking pictures is just out of the question. We spent the hour holding on for dear life.
|Look very closely...|
It wasn’t long before our boat driver pointed out some dolphins in the distance and for the remainder of our boat excursion we must have seen about 2 dozen dolphins. Actually, it would probably be more accurate to say that we saw dolphins on 2 dozen occasions because obviously they all look pretty much the same.
|Dolphin tour boats|
The boat driver spoke little English but he told me afterwards that there were about 3 dozen dolphins in the area and that there were quite a few baby dolphins so they were breeding successfully which is of course encouraging.
|Tokay gecko - look at his feet|
We witnessed another stunning sunset before heading back to the hotel where we had a couple more beers and were further entertained by the resident Tokay gecko.
|The landscape through a dirty |
bus window on the way back to
We spent 2 nights at Rory’s before catching an early bus on the third day to Sihanoukville. After several long, arduous, terrifying and guaranteed uncomfortable bus journeys, over a relatively short space of time, we were more than ready to spend some time relaxing on a beach and on one or two of the islands off the south coast of Cambodia. Paul was planning to to his PADI open water diving course and I was planning to do bugger all. We couldn't wait.