Kratie

We've been working hard on gaining mileage so you haven't heard from us since Siem Reap. Since then we returned to Phnom Penh for one night at number 9 sister guesthouse again, only this room was the worst we had. Termites had destroyed the walls and we spent the night expecting the roof to cave in on us. There was also a great big bulge around a nasty gash in the wall paneling that I'm pretty sure was one of the lesser gateways to hell.

After that we jumped on a mostly empty bus with the first French-Canadians we've met, who argued every dollar they ever spent. Apparently they paid $7 for tickets on a fast mini-bus, and we'd paid $5 for whatever would get us to Kratie in whatever time. Of course we ended up on the same bus, but only after half an hour of them standing on the kerb refusing to board because they paid $2 more than us for a minibus. Then they complained about a $2.50 moto ride (a half hour moto ride). Poor French-Canadians!

In Kratie, we have the best balance of nicest/cheapest that we've had in Cambodia. $4 a night beats the runner up, $5 a night in Siem Reap (a little nicer but still an extra dollar). A word on accomodation - cheap! For $5 you can get really nice or really mouldy, depending on how much you want to shop around. We're going to struggle back in Vietnam.

And yes, we shelled out the $2.50 ($5 return!!) for the moto ride to take us 16km north of town, a really beautiful ride along the mighty Mekong. And Dad, I confess, I rode without a helmet and had visions of my half skinned body skidding head first into a road sign the whole trip there and back. There were no road signs but my driver did have to slam on the brakes more than once for the suicidal dogs that kept throwing themselves onto the road. But it was really fun and I'm super glad that neither Paul nor myself died horribly.

The reason for the death defying excursion north was to take a boat ride to the middle of the Mekong (it is really wide) to catch a glimpse of the horrifically endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins. There's literally less than 100 left between Kratie and Southern Laos. We did catch glimpses, but not much more than that! I have about 50 photos of patches of water where a dolphin very recently was, and a few minutes of footage with a fin or two showing. It was really lovely to see though so I'm glad we risked our lives...

Tomorrow morning we head off on a minibus to Don Det island, just over the border into Loas. We're looking forward to $1 a night bungalows with or without toilet we're not sure. Don't believe the price until I confirm it in our next post though.
Speaking of which, if they have gotten electricity to the island of Don Det since our Lonely Planet was published, I don't think they'll have gotten internet connections yet. You might not hear from us for a while!

I will try to get some photos up tonight before we leave but I promise nothing!

Bec,
Kratie.