New Year’s on the Mekong

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Kretie is another sleepy town, even further up the Mekong. It is famous because a couple kilometers from here, a pack of Irrawaddy dolphins make their home. These dolphins, which live in fresh water, are extremely rare. Only about 70 are thought to be left in Cambodia. It is normally close to impossible to see these creatures, but luckily, in this place, spotting them is quite common. We took a little boat trip to see them and found a couple which swam around. It was amazing to see such large aquatic mammals swimming around in a river.

There is a wide sidewalk on the street overlooking the Mekong. There, ladies operate a bunch o hawker stalls selling beers, beverages, and food. One day I had the urge for a hard boiled egg and bought two from one of these ladies. When I cracked it open, there was a partially developed chick inside. I have heard of this before, but in the Philippines. While not appetizing, I had every intention of trying this before we left on the trip. I just knew I would have to psych myself up before digging in. Here, I was not ready for it. All I wanted was a hard boiled egg and no chick. I gave the egg white with veins a cautions nip just to see, and it tasted like an egg white in chicken broth. I passed on the rest, but hope that in the future I will have more willpower.

Since we were here on December 31st, this is the place where we would be spending New Year’s Eve. There was not much going on. On the riverside, ladies were hawking beers, whiskey, and simple food dishes. We settled down at a table and watched an amazing sunset over the Mekong. Then we started playing cards. There was absolutely no New Year’s vibe in the air. There were just a couple of locals sitting around eating and drinking beers, a handful of foreigners, and us playing cards. It was very low-key. When midnight came around, we cheered and hugged and soon after went to sleep. It was one of the more memorable starts of a new year.

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