I'm sitting on the balcony of my room in The Paragon hotel in Phnom Penh, overlooking the mighty Mekong river - through the constant parade of branches and leaves, barreling along in whopping great bundles at a rapid rate of knots, you get some idea of just how much water comes down the Mekong River System. Interestingly, after the wet season, it's here in PP that the unique phenomenon of ''flow reversal'' occurs. Because the river landscape here is flat, small changes in water level determine the direction of flow. So twice every year, the Tônlé Sap River, which merges with the Mekong in Phnom Penh, changes direction, either draining or refilling the great Tônlé Sap Lake.
This is a water level marker
on the banks of Tônlé Sap Lake.
The water level can fluctuate
by 7-8 meters between the wet
and dry seasons.
These markers regularly disappear
beneath the surface, so you get
some idea of how much water
comes into & out of this lake.
This is the last strip of land separating the Tônlé Sap River and the Mekong.
I don't really understand why, but I feel so at home here. Where I only felt sadness and hopelessness on my last visit with my beautiful girl, this time It's a feeling of hope and joy..
Tara brought little Annie with her to Phnom Penh so she could meet her sponsors. Which meant I got to spend hours with her too. She is such a funny, happy little girl I was already enjoying her company before she told me she loved me... sspplltt - that's the sound of me melting into a puddle on the floor.
In a week or two, after I have the classes up and running, Annie's going to come and live with me. A chance to improve her English in a stable home should be great for her. Not too bad for me either....
Yes, I have my first one entangled in my heart already, I have definitely wandered into my own special Paradise.
I let Annie play with my phone while we were driving around. She not only worked out how to reverse the camera so she could take loads of 'funny face ' photos, she set one of them as my new wallpaper - I have no idea how to do that...and Annie laughingly refuses to tell me !
I told her she looks like she's been drinking beer in this shot - her reply: " no, then I look so.." and she closed her eyes, drooped her head forward and made a few mumbling grunts.. then laughed.
She's an amazing child.