Don Det Travel Blog› entry 193 of 206 › view all entries
Had a nice lie in this morning and then had a
wasted journey to the bank to change kip to US dollars ready for Cambodia, it
being Saturday. I checked out at 12 midday and took my bag to the guest house
one up from Pon's for a breakfast of sticky rice cooked with banana in coconut
milk. There were boatmen playing board games by the river, waiting for
passengers and when I asked them as I passed to the bank they said it would
cost 40,000 kip to Don Det. I met two dread-haired guys at breakfast, one of
whom I had passed several times on my cycle tour yesterday, and as they were
going to Don Det too we hoped to get a good price. When we returned as a group
he said 50,000 per person. Apparently the price goes up after midday! To be
fair to him however, although we agreed a slightly reduced price, the boat trip
along the Mekong actually took about an hour - must better value compared to
the 20,000 kip I paid yesterday to travel from one side of the river to the
We arrived on the beach at Don Det to an audience of 40 bikini-clad westerners who advised we go to the guest houses further down 'Sunset Strip' to save money. I settled at Doram Guest House (or something similar) which was a stilted wooden hut with 2 beds, an outside hammock, and own bathroom for $5. It wasn't especially secure, so when I went to check email (400 kip/minute!) I secured my bags by chains to the window metal grilles. I needn't have worried though.
After an hour or so it was time to join the
westerners on the beach lapping up the last rays over the Mekong.
After an hour I went to meet Anna and Felicia for dinner, two Swedish girls I had met around town earlier. Felicia was very ill on antibiotics from an allergic reaction, so when she went to bed, Anna and I went to the Reggae Bar to meet the monkey she had met the night previously (he was curled up sleeping in someone's arms, and they wouldn't let us take photos with the flash), where we were mobbed by a bunch of drunken people trying to convince us to dive bomb into the Mekong from the jumping platform in the dark. They then proceeded to tell us in detail about the sewage from the island that they pump into the water, and that the same water is used for all the showers. Nice.
The island only has 4 hours of electricity a day (though I assume the internet cafes have their own generators as they are on all day), so at around 11pm all the lights went out and it was our cue to go down to the beach where every night some kind soul lights a fire. Everyone buys a last beer (illegally) from the street vendor and then proceeds to sit up chatting in the firelight. You can imagine the rest.
I stayed for a couple of hours, but then turned in before my border crossing tomorrow, so bid my farewells. Walking back to my shack was beautiful though - I walked through the deserted strip which was blue in the moonlight and black in the shadows of the trees, bamboo and huts. The night hummed with the shrill song of the cidadas and I actually just sat down for a while to listen and look at the peaceful night in the jungle....