Imagine one of those posters with a beautiful landscape, rainbows, dolphins…. then add to it the sound of tropical birds energetically singing, the sound of water flowing through mangrove roots, a gentle breeze, and you have a lovely evening on the Mekong River. The Irrawaddy river dolphins are a unique, endangered species that live in the Mekong River between Kratie Province and Laos (just a brief sketch on the geography of the area- Cambodia is nestled between Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and the Gulf of Thailand).
The boat captain, our company driver and I took a small wooden motorboat into a remote stretch of the river and were captivated by the beautiful scenery. We anchored the boat to a small cluster of mangroves and soon saw the Irrawaddy dolphins surfacing throughout the area. These dolphins have more rounded, “beaked” noses than the traditional dolphins we imagine. What was supposed to be a 90 minute excursion became two and a half hours as the evening light transformed the water into a silver, milky glow (not to mention that Chanda, our driver, was having such a lovely time bird watching– and I don’t think the boat captain was in any hurry either; I am quite sure that he brought his evening cocktail aboard). The feelings aroused by the evening were only comparable to my lovely Chanticleer picnics. And yes, there was even a rainbow.