7th May 2005 – Evening
The evening has passed pretty fast…Its time to get to work again. At 7.00pm, we walked down the hill to the boat and start casting net at the deep water zone. We spend two hours and the result of the catch was…
As you can see…there were quite a few species of fish found in the Thandwe river. It was disappointing that no small arowana was found. We decided to call a stop and head back up to the hut to rest. All of us were exhausted. Around 10.30pm we sleep …after chatting. Those fishes caught would be eaten and not wasted.
8th May 2005
We woke up at around 5.30am. While we were drinking coffee, we were told that there was another small stream at the other side of the hill. Since we were already near there…I decided to “try”. It was quite a distance…longer than I though. We use an hour to reach the stream by foot…a small stream. When I saw the stream… I knew that there couldn’t be possible any arowana living there. But hiking through the forest was enjoying..at least I get to see the what was hidden in the forest. It was refreshing.
At the stream, I was surprised to see many dead fishes. I was told that some fish hunters there still using the traditional method of catching the fishes with poison…easy and fast. They would only collect the big fishes and sell/trade them. The poor smaller fishes will be sacrificed along with this unethical act.
What interest me most was this “bumble bee” fish as in the photo above. The colour was beautiful! They hide among the rocks. My hand was itchy. I was thinking of catching them and bag them back. But again, without any proper packing accessories, the fish would just be killed by my hands. I left them alone.
Till today, I still not sure what this fish species is called. But I do see them in some local aquarium shop. I believe they are commonly found in the rivers/streams of South-East Asia.
Along the way….
Someone has tied a wild orchid to the bamboo. Maybe it was a route marking?
This was a wild flower found in the forest. Its name sound like “Marlarphoon”. The villages there would eat it as a vegetable…after boiling.
We passed by a hut …they collect wild honey and sell it…I didn’t remember to take a photo of the hut…only the bottle of honey that I bought. It supposed to be good for health and…manhood…ha!
With disappointing result…my morale was down. But again, we knew that the snakeskin arowana should be in Sittwe…not here in Thandwe. By 12.30 pm, we were back to the river mouth. We took a private taxi back to the resort ( to have a good clean up of ourselves and packed up our belongings) and negotiated with the taxi driver to wait for us and take us to Toungup. A small town up north of Thandwe.
In the first part of my blog, I didn’t explain the reason of travelling to Thandwe. Since we were unable to catch the direct flight from Yangon to Sittwe, the alternative route (longer route) was to take a ferry from Toungup. Unavoidable, we need to pass-by Thandwe.
By 7pm, we reach Toungup. Before this….there was a gantry along the way.. guarded by the police. They would question every personnel who enter the township. I was told that this was common among other townships too as to monitor the activities of the people there. They were especially sensitive to foreigners.
The sun has set. Toungup was known as a “hostile” area. Even Ling was worried. There were many man sitting around and chatting…staring at us. I was feeling insecured. We asked and there was only guest house available and no hotel at all. The guest house has no air-con but with a standing fan and a single size bed. The window was cover by mosquitoes net. We need to use a common bathroom. ”why do I want to come here?’’ …I asked myself. A sense of regret…after so many days of “hardship”.
After checked into the hotel, we decided to search for a dining place. To my surprise…we found a very nice local eatery not far from the guest room. We had roast duck, swee sour fish and fried pork rib…with beer of course! Back then, I wasn’t hooked on any social media. Hence, I didnt have a habit of taking picture of the food that I ate. So…you can only imagine what I have eaten. Also, I dared not take out my camera…not to invite touble. We went back to the guest house and I slept around 9pm. The bed was uncomfortable but the beer did help me to sleep. This was part of the plan why we ordered “enough” beer during the dinner time.
9th May 2005
I woke up at 4.30am. by 6.30am we were at the jetty. We need to take the 8.00am ferry to Sittwe. Ling did asked around if they have seen or heard of arowana in their region. No result.
We took the “motorcycle” taxi to the jetty.
Wating area at the Jetty…plus my shadow.
This was the public toilet at the Jetty.
We “sucessfully” boarded the ferry… on time and headed to Sittwe – where the real action would be. I will share with you more in my next blog.