We’re up early on Easter morning, as most days. But this is a special morning! We rent a moto, grab a couple of buns filled with sugarcane and head off to check out the famous freshwater river dolphins. The road is lined with small wooden houses, with shops and restaurants, where Gerda is on a lookout for eggs.
When we get to the spot, we share a small boat with a German couple to go dolphin-sighting. Its not long till our conversation is interrupted by dolphin surfacing for a puff of water. We spend the remainder of the hour w/o talking and with our eyes seeking out another dolphin splashing about, playing and line-swimming. We’re told that the Irrawaddy dolphin population is shrinking and they are found in two places on the Mekong river only (the other stop is in Laos). In this particular settlement, there live about 100 of them.
Afterwards we ride a few more kilometers north to find a nice place for lunch with Mekong filling the landscape. We also get some eggs, and so the Easter feast commences.
Heading further, we come across a water park on the Mekong – basically a load of long bungalows built on the shallow part of the river, connected by wooden walkways. Its midday and the place if full of locals. They come here in large groups, bringing their hammocks, bamboo mats, tons of food and even more cases of beer and spend the entire day dining and swimming in the river. Right now, in the dry season, the river is very rapid. You get into the knee-deep water and immediately need to hold onto a rock at the bottom of the river, or be carried downstream and exert great effort to stumble back. Carried by the boundless energy of youth, the children as young as 5 are doing loops floating down the river and then making it back up again, grinning like maniacs all the way too.
Overall this place feels like camping near a lake in Lithuania. Zygis is hopeless to resist the pungent smell of warm beer around him and expresses his plans of acquiring some immediately, only to spot a can of beer carried towards him by the river. Its not uncommon for locals to dump their rubbish straight into the river, so he grabs it from the water. And what do you know, the can is unopened! What a co-incidence! Or Easter magic? Or, “Your wish is my command”…