Bamboo Bridge To Kho Paen Island

Our guide No “Monkey” picked us up in the morning and we took the pick-up on dusty tracks towards Virachey National Park. All who were in the back on the truck bed (Nicole was allowed to sit in the front car) were coated with the red-brown dust. Then we went by boat on the river “Tonle San” to a small village. On the banks were busy washing clothes for women and children played in the water. They looked at a bit of skeptical. We went first to the house of our second companion “Well”. It was a wooden house on stilts and a few women and children held in the shadow of the house below. Well was the carrier for the tour and had to carry our food and cookware. The bag in which everything was stowed, looked pretty hard and was converted with a cloth as straps to a backpack.
We each water bottles and a hammock with integrated mosquito net, then it started. It was very hot and we were in the beginning about parched rice fields. Large number of fields and also a part of the forest had burned. Monkey explained, that the rural people here are very poor and can not afford fertilizers. Therefore they burn the fields to prepare them for the next planting to make fruitful. Often it happens, that draws on the fire on the adjacent forest. Many parts of the forest floor was covered with black ashes therefore, in some places it still smoldering and the air was very stuffy. After the lunch break gave us a small monkey lesson in "aiming and shooting with a slingshot". Eventually the jungle was then denser and greener. Monkey spotted in a tree large ants, it between some leaves slightly crushed and gave us to try. Ants taste pretty sour…

In the late afternoon we finally reached our camp. There was a waterfall and we were excited for the entire hike to a dip in it. Unfortunately, the waterfall was not so much left, but you could still bathe. Monkey and Well in the meantime were so busy in our dinner bamboo prepare. There was a typical Khmer-court, really very very tasty. To drink rice whiskey and tea. The tea was boiled out of the water from the waterfall. Our dormitory we had built up in the meantime and so was the night under the open sky nothing in the way.

We boys (Cliff, Jan and I) then we went on a hunt with Monkey. Armed with our headlamps we left in the dark and roamed through the jungle to a small stream. There we were looking for frogs. Monkey showed us how to catch the frogs by hand. Then we had to throw a rock only with full power. At first it was a little difficult to us to discover the little frogs at all, but after a while we got the hang of it and we also knew how best captures the slippery Animals. Some of us are still slipped out of his hands.
Our loot we collected in a cut plastic bottle. One of the frogs was pretty tough. We called him “Rambo-Frosch”, because we throw him 3 times against a rock before he finally had to rest there.
Monkey also tried a couple of fish with a huge knife to capture. However, only small fish were in the water, He had not really had much luck and therefore settle for a fish. We followed the creek upstream until we had arrived back at camp. Our yield was impressive. At least 25 frogs we captured.
Monkey then discovered even toads. However, since these have a very toxic skin (as strong as the poison of a cobra) First they had to be peeled and washed. For dessert, so there was still grilled frogs and toads. Although at both is not much to it but it still tasted delicious – like chicken, “same same, but different“.
Even before the food had Monkey situated 3 rat traps. Every time he came back, he controlled these disappointed and said they have only eaten the bait. Suddenly he came proudly with a rat in hand. This he had killed with the slingshot. Even the rat was grilled on a stick over the fire and has pretty good taste.
Monkey's faith is animism, Therefore, he sacrificed of our food to thank the forest is something.

To 22 clock then were all pretty tired and have been placed in her hammock. Only Monkey and I could not sleep. Thus we started again on the way to towards the waterfall to go hunting. I was always impressed how well he could see the frogs in the dark. Some he shot with the slingshot. He simply aimed in a dark crevice and then caught a frog. Sometimes I should just wait a minute and he came back with several frogs and toads.
He told me, that he has learned the hunting and cooking of his parents. He lives with his wife and two children in a small village near the crater lake. For him, hunting is not just fun. Rather, it was to him a dietary staple. Monkey also said, that it would be good for his village, when a river like this in the area would. Then all could often times eat meat. Meat is very expensive for him, so it's mostly rice and vegetables.

After an hour we were with some frogs and toads back in camp and we went to sleep then.
Nicole could not sleep so well. Eventually, she had time to use the toilet. It has, however, they tasted quite overcome, until they are in the dark trust out in the jungle. It is a bit scary, in the dark in the dense jungle.

Pretty soon we were all awake again and Monkey already prepared our breakfast: fried noodles with vegetables and coffee to. Oh yes, and there were the frogs and toads that I had captured with Monkey. But this time there was not fried they, but cooked.
After breakfast we packed our things and made our way back. In this way we tried again a few fruits and leaves. Some leaves were quite bitter or sour, but still not bad. Monkey also discovered another big spider which he began. In the next breather Well grilled them for us and everyone tried a little piece. This much is also not off to such a spider.
After 4 hours, we arrived back in the village. There we enjoyed a refreshing beer from the first village shop and later told us something about the Monkey traditional life and culture. For example, a man must give the parents of his future wife, two chickens and a bottle of rice whiskey, so that he can marry the woman. It's really a very interesting culture and we would certainly be able to listen any longer. Our tour then but even took us to the village cemetery. There we explained Monkey various rituals and also said, that we no longer could return to the village, because otherwise we get the evil spirits into the village. So we went with the boat and then the pick-up on the way back. We were in the back of pick-ups again beautiful red-brown. We put a quick stop to buy a fresh coconuts for us and then it was the end of the crater lake. There we were able to first liberate all of the thick layer of dust. A great jungle adventure came to an end and we were completely worn to bed.

The next day we rested from the jungle tour and the next stages of our trip planned.