Saturday, November 27, 2010

the muddy banks of the muddy Mekong

It really is muddy, the Mekong River - reddish-brown everywhere we've seen it. It's such a vital part of people's lives here; during the rainy season, obviously it swells and stays at a high point. But when it recedes for the rest of the year, guess what the clever Lao do? They plant the river banks. The soil there is incredibly fertile, and all along the banks you see these lush little garden plots. Yesterday we were lying in the sun and heard kids laughing and a lot of splashing. There was an unplanted section that was a big slide-y mud slick, being used by four little boys to slide into the river. Two were naked as little brown jaybirds, and two wore underpants; they had some kind of something, plastic I guess, that they sat on to slide into the river.

The Water Festival that was just celebrated in Phnom Penh has at least partly to do with this most unusual thing that happens with the Mekong.

See that big lake? It's the Tonle Sap, and it connects to the Mekong with a tributary. Well, when the rainy season comes the tributary flows into the Tonle Sap. After the rainy season ends, it reverses direction. So the Water Festival celebrates that reversal of direction. I think that's very cool.

In a spectacular incidence of packing fail, I didn't bring the charger for my camera battery. I've taken it on every other trip we've ever taken and never needed it once, so I decided not to bring it this time. And now, of course, in that way things work, my camera battery has only about 1/4 charge left. We're going to a nearby waterfall today, really gorgeous, and I'm going to take it but I want to save my battery for Vientiane, which is our next stop....tomorrow. For now, though, we're off to hire a tuk-tuk!

1 comment:

  1. The reversing river story os very interesting!

    ReplyDelete

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