A Mekong Adventure

The Steung Treng Adventurers Club membership

Celebrated super-hero Nick as President. Mensa Marvel Michelle, chairperson of the bored. With Soksan and Saray as the beautiful boys (yes but what was their role?). Captain King the driver (Saray) and Miracle Maker Manus (Soksan), the presidents mentor.

On the agenda of the current convening were river recces up the Mekong. And Steung Treng sorties to see if there was anything edible to eat after our last encounter at the Hundred Year Old Chicken House (the chicken not the house), with honorary member and swamp dweller Dean.

Manus was on his phone, Saray was recuperating from a 300 km drive and Michelle who probably works for the CIA was planning a sub-Saharan coup, so I went for a paddle.

Rural river life climbed up the banks of the Mekong. Rich silt ready for annual vegetables before it flooded again. Returning fishermen in their long tail reverberating 2 stroke fishing boats, splashing children, water buffalo adorned with bright white egrets, all populated the shore as I paddled down river into the sun.

Manus & Saray frolicking on an island in the Mekong

As miniated in the agenda, today’s adventure was a foray to the unknown river island forests in the middle of the Mekong. We moored beside a sandbank and while our affable boat driver laid out lunch, we explored the archipelago of channels and trees.

Michelle gliding like a wood nymph through the flooded forest
Michelle glided like a wood nymph in a gossamer gown through elven glades. Rejuvenating her mega mind in the swift currents that flowed between the trees. Nick was pretending to be a crocodile hunting its prey, which had gone to seek their fortune. Not all that glitters is gold, in this case the reflecting fragments of light in the water were iron pyrites. The boat driver said he heard a snake eating a frog while rather more serene was the birdsong that rang in the trees.
Soksan expressing his usual respect for celebrated super heron Nick
Manus and Saray were pulling inedible vegetation off bushes and trees that grew in the gardens of the stilted houses on Koh Snaeng Island and calling it fruit. “Try this Nicky,’ I spat it out. A small red berry surprisingly tasted like strawberry candy. Manus took the boat driver to one end of the island, we walked to the other then back again as we missed each other in the middle. Reunited we cast off into the current and watched the river-banks speed by. An Osprey observed us from his perch in dead tree high above the river.

Koh Snaeng

We need a plan, said superhero Nick, Soksan and Saray looked the other way, Michelle had work to do. Undaunted by this huge surge of enthusiasm we found ourselves ambling along dusty roads beside the Mekong lined by stilted houses in small villages. We crossed the Japanese Bridge over the Sekong, that flows into the Mekong and walked along the other side of the river into Steung Treng Town in search of coffee, singularly absent

so far!

Back at the resort Soksan had a plan. Assembled at three o clock for a Mekong crossing to find the uncharted channel that would take us round what is an island opposite the resort, Koh Snam Chey. We regrouped on a sandbar and made the brave decision to press ahead despite darkening skies and a blustery breeze. Nick sped ahead to find out if they were trapped as the Mekong ran out of river or could find the Northeast channel back into the main river. So close but so far, I ran across the stony dry riverbed to cheers of River Lapwings. It was there but the sky was dark and the current strong, so we bravely turned around and paddled back as the River Lapwing laughed.

A nice sunset over the Mekong from our room

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