As mentioned in my last blog entry I had some downtime during my field trip to Kratie, which I used to visit one of the major tourist attractions – the Kratie dolphins. The Irrawaddy River Dolphins are actually located just outside of Kratie though in a small town called Kampi. The boat trips to see the Kratie dolphins are $1.5 for locals and $9 for foreigners. It didn’t help that I came with two locals, as I still had to pay the full price. To add to the unfairness my colleagues ended up getting the trip for free as the boat operator recognized our Youth Star uniform. He was a big fan of our work. In my white foreign face I guess. 😉
The Kratie dolphins were not shy and it was really special to be able to see them during one of the most beautiful sunsets ever, especially as there are only an estimated 40 Kratie dolphins left. They don’t jump out of the water like ocean dolphins, but enough to see their heads. I was quite a challenge catching them on camera, but I managed to get a few lucky shots of their fins. :-/
Spot the Kratie dolphin
That is as far as they come out
My colleagues also introduced me to a local delicacy, which is sticky rice cooked in bamboo and then sealed with hay. It tastes slightly salty, but it is very nice. My colleague Mony liked it so much that he bought 4kg of it to take back to Phnom Penh with him.
Mony demonstrating how to peel the bamboo back
After our assessment visit in Sambor village we also managed to visit another beautiful tourist attraction – Wat Sorsor Muoy Roi (temple of 100 columns). One of our reading centers for children is in fact on the temple complex as well. The temple contains several colourful murals that tell legends of nature, and other traditional Buddhist stories. My colleagues told me that it was built by a King in memory of his beloved daughter who was eaten by a crocodile. The King hunted the croc down, slit it open, couldn’t find his daughter in there anymore, and then built a stupa for his daughter’s body in the early 19th century.
The resting place of the princess
Colourful murals cover walls and ceilings in the temple
The princess that was one croc’s last dinner
The reading center
To end the day we went to a local restaurant that specializes in some very unusual food. First we had pancakes filled with pork mince. The way to eat the pancakes was not with a knife and fork though, but to take a small piece, wrap it in a salad leave, stuff it with some more fresh vegetables, dip it into a sweet fish and chilli sauce, and then try and squeeze all of it into your mouth without choking.
I sneaked into the kitchen to find out how the pancakes were made
The finished product
I then spotted a dish on the menu that was called ‘cow on a mountain’. I was intrigued and so we ordered it. The waiter bought a plate with beef strips covered in a cracked egg. All my alarm bells started to ring-raw beef and raw eggs combined? Surely not! To my relief the waiter then bought a mini table bbq with which we grilled the beef.
Cow on a mountain
All of this was washed down with a cold can of Angkor beer or two – happy days! 🙂
Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.
We are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between us we are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. In 2011 we left the rat-race in London behind to work in international development and see the world.