Cambodia, Day 11 (Aug. 8, 2007)

Today was our tour of Preah Sihanouk Ream National Park. We took a boat ride upriver for about an hour in a covered catamaran. We spotted a red-headed kingfisher and a family of fish-eagles. The ride was particularly enjoyable because we sat next to a French family, and I was able to practice my French. It's as terrible as I remember it, but they were friendly and kind.

We docked the boat -- sort of -- and waded the remaining 50 feet to shore.* Then we hiked for 40 minutes through lush, humid jungle to a secluded beach** where we swam in the churning Gulf of Thailand for 45 minutes. Then back to the dock where we ate lunch of BBQ fish and warm Coke. The boat ride back was just as beautiful except for the torrential downpour that soaked us and our gear completely.

After dropping off our things at the hotel, I ran across the street to Dara's for a cold banana shake. It was the most delicious thing I've ever had; nothing beats a good brain freeze on a hot, Cambodian summer day.

* This wasn't too big of a deal. Many of the fishers in the communities we boated past didn't bother to use boats to check their traps. They simply waded out to them -- often a hundred of feet from shore.
** We were told they sometimes see elephants here. We didn't, though we saw a huge water buffalo. Not quite the same, since it seemed to be a domesticated beast belonging to one of the families in the scattered huts we passed.

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