I didn’t realize I was going to visit one of the most beautiful places I have been to in Cambodia and even in the world. On the morning of December 29, I took the bus with my colleagues and friends at work from Phnom Penh to a rather remote province in the further northern part of Cambodia, where the biggest, and arguably the only, attraction is the Mekong Dolphin (or Irrawaddy Dolphin). The trip wasn’t that exciting until some ten hours later when I was in the boat enjoying watching dolphins and the view around.
Getting the ticket checked at the checkpoint of the bus station, I was told the trip from Phnom Penh to Kratie was going to last only for 5 hours, so I was expecting to be there at around 12 or 1pm.
So there I was, with my friends, after hours and hours of bus ride, on the boat waiting for those adorable creatures to get their ways on the surface of the water.
The sun was getting low, still continuing to shine very brightly, and we were still waiting. For a while the journey wasn’t very quiet; the boat was moving with a machine propeller until we reached a point where there were some 4 or 5 other boats. Then the propeller was stopped, the noise gone, and like people in other boats, we were waiting for the moments we had been so excited about. Around I kept looking; my eyes against the shiny late afternoon sunlight were moving around, starting at the surface of the water, with camera in my hands.
Waiting to see the dolphins
Then it happened. Those magical creatures appeared swiftly on the surface. Sometimes, they came up in pairs or in flocks. Each time it sounded just like what we usually heard dolphins or whales do, breathing air out through their nose on the back of their head. “Pheev!! Pheev!!” I was memorized by how big they looked, how smooth their skins must feel, and how magical the whole things seemed to get. While waiting, I dipped my hands into the water, tapping gently hoping for those dolphins to come forwards as close to the boat as possible so that I could pat their smooth heads.