From Phnom Penh to Vietnam

Mar 06, 2019 - The Jahan

Docking last night in Phnom Penh ensured that we drifted to sleep to the haunting but distant sounds of ship horns and Buddhist chants. The next morning came quickly. A small number of us met on deck for coffee as the first light of day crested the horizon. Before long, the morning was full of silhouettes, stunning deep reds, reflections on the water, and amber-bathed buildings.

By the time the caffeine hit, we were more than ready for the local market, but first went to visit a noisy but fascinating colony of Lyle’s flying foxes. These busy bats weren’t going to sleep anytime soon, with much squabbling, flapping of wings, and general wiggling of ears. Entertaining as this sight was, it wasn’t enough to keep us from getting back aboard for breakfast.

The rest of the day was spent cruising the Mekong en route to Vietnam. The day was packed with great stuff to keep everyone entertained. First, we had Jean Michel Fillipi discussing the recent history of Cambodia, and he was joined for a Q&A session with Global Perspectives guest speaker and former war correspondent Elizabeth Pecker, who was one of the last few journalists to visit Cambodia before the fall of the Khmer Rouge. Such a compelling combination of speakers would have kept our audience enraptured for the rest of the day had our midday appetites not intervened.

The afternoon consisted of a tour of the ship as well as a presentation on the differences between Cambodian and Vietnamese culture (including enlightening insight on the origins of their languages) by our Cultural Specialist David Brotherson. Later, a class on spring rolls, where a number of our guests learned the a few choice tips from of our chef.

The day ended as it had begun, bathed in golden light. We were heading into Chau Doc, a bustling town of trade, commerce, fruit, and fish (a story for another day).

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About the Author

Adam Britton

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Adam is a British-born zoologist who has lived and worked in northern Australia since 1997. Before arriving in Darwin, Adam gained a Ph.D. on the flight performance and echolocation of insectivorous bats, but his passion has always been large predators and the relationship that different cultures have toward them.

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