Rattanakirri (or however you want to spell it)

Although the road to Ratanakirri was brutal, I’m glad we made the trip. It was a different kind of Cambodia up there; I definitely want to go back. We visited a couple of waterfalls, toured the provincial market, and just about overdosed on the intense R.Kirri coffee that is grown there. I’m glad they water that stuff down in PP…

Kachahng Waterfall + eating sour mangoes!

The second waterfall we went to had a flight of slippery moss-covered steps to the bottom, where there was a swing out over the water. Very pretty, but I definitely thought more than once, “This is the part where Cambodia finally kills me.” But it was totally fine, and anyway if my three-year-old Cambodian nephew could make the trip, I’d be darned if I didn’t, too!

Katieng Waterfall

Katieng Waterfall was also the place where we rode elephants. Through the jungle! It was totally awesome.

Thidah and Mom traverse the jungle.

You may be wondering why Thidah is wincing and Mom is laughing. I guess we interrupted the elephant drivers’ lunch, because they showed up, er, well, a little tipsy. Actually, Mom’s driver was pretty wasted; he kept falling asleep and almost falling off the elephant, which was okay with the elephant, who would just stop for a snack of vegetation on the side of the trail. Good grief…

We also went to this strange lake called Yaklom Lake, which was apparently a volcanic crater that erupted several times (several millenia ago). Just a day or so before we arrived up there, locals noticed a strange bubbling in the lake, as if gas was being released from the lake bottom. Normally the lake is very clear and reflects the blue of the sky, but at the time we saw it, the water was so stirred up that the lake was a murky yellow-green– hmmm, peculiar. Too bad the RGC can’t afford full-time geologists… Anyway, around the lake most of the forest had been cleared long ago and had partially regrown, but there were still some towering trees here and there.

A remaining giant...

At some point I’ll have to get back up there and make a trek out to the rainforest, which they say has been cut back nearly to the border with Laos. Guess I better get going…before it’s gone.


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