Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Mekong Swim

Me emerging happy but ready for a bacon sandwich

I did the Mekong River Swim... More pictures and story to follow when I have recovered!!

Ok, I have now recovered from my swim across the Mekong and have resumed the energy to type!
The event was great fun albeit that the start was early as I had to drag myself out of bed at 6am. Not something that happens very often, especially for exercise. I travelled with the team from School in the minibus and arrived promptly at the swim site at 7:30am. The organisers greeted us with horrified exclamations about how early we were. No, we were just on time, shocking and unexpected in Cambodia. The "non-competitive" race was due to start at 9am and (in true Cambodian fashion) did not actually start until 10am. I was not feeling my best as I have been a bit sick for 3 weeks now (looking forward to some NHS when I get home in a week!) but was unwilling to give up!

The school swim team

Near to 10am the boat, carrying more swimmers, arrived from PP. And then the organisers gave us our information "DO NOT BE A HERO! If you have trouble GET OUT. SOMEONE NEARLY DROWNED and DIED last year. Have you eaten breakfast? [no], have you had a good night's sleep? [errr no, I was being sick], did you drink lots last night [at least I was OK on this one]... YOU WILL DIE"!!! Honestly, it was like being in the army, and having failed 2 out of 3 criteria for a successful swim I was bound to die!

The spectators went off in their boat and the swimmers got ready. Slipping down the muddy bank until all 160 of us were in the murky water. Then after a 10 minute wait we are off ...the water didn't taste too bad just a bit muddy and I didn't see any rubbish or sewage floating past. The kids from school zoomed off and a few of us unprepared teachers gently followed. The swim was longer than we had prepared for and about 3/4 of the way across the current got so fast you could not swim at a slow pace for fear that you would end up in Vietnam or somewhere... After what seemed to be a long time I made it across and up the slippery slope triumphant!!

Getting ready to go and then down the slope

The kids from school were doing the race to buy bikes and helmets for CCH and I swam to help children who are in Prison with their mothers so there were lots of great causes which made the swim very worthwhile.

Some children from CCH who came for a paddle and support their fundraisers

The Phnom Penh Post ran an article on Monday and I was pictured wearing my team swim hat (not a good look) but at least I am smiling!

Me - mid river, taking advantage of a chat with the press boat and the picture that appeared in the paper!


Els en Stefaan said...

Hey Michelle,

Found your blog, nice blog! I coudn't make it last week for your drink. Where are you now, back home?
Hope to meet once again, when your back in Cambodia or in England or...

Wish you could luck!

Anonymous said...

Els - HI!!! I lost my phone and so could not contact you to say bye. My email is kemp100md [at] - keep in touch! Can you pass the email to Rosalie as well? Hope this message gets to you somehow!