Had another early start yesterday to get the bus from Phnom Penh to Kratie in the North East Of Cambodia. The bus stops are amusing as you get to use the Asian style toilets (thank goodness they are badly lit normally) and to buy some fruit, water etc. The stalls have a range of stuff for sale but we have not felt the inclination to try the roasted crickets or giant spiders fried with garlic!
Kratie is a really quiet place made up of basically three streets, one of which faces the river. It's the best place in Cambodia to see the Irrawaddy dolphins at nearby O Kampiu. We went there earlier and had some quite good sightings of them but they are virtually inpossible to photograph. They were either almost black or a very dark gray with small dorsel fins and very blunt noses, reminding me of Baluga whales. The trip there was on the back of a bike or Motodup as short trips often are in Cambodia and then out on the river on a long tailed sam pan. A very tranquil experience.
Tomorrow we are booked onto a minibus (they always seem to leave very early!) to take us to the Laos border where we will have to change to another bus and then a small ferry to take us to one of the Four Thousand Islands and the most Southerly part of Laos. The isalnds are no more than sand bars in the Mekong River. It's meant to be a really quiet place, with little or no electricity (maybe between 6 and 10pm) and time to swing in a shady hammock and do some reading. Also a bit of mosquito avoiding as well I reckon. The rest of Southern Laos should also be very basic and ideally no signs of Christmas either! (apologies to those of you that like Christmas) We should be in Vientiene for Christmas day or a little after, road slips and weather permitting.
Wishing every one happy celebrations and a merry time over the holidays.