Saturday, June 24, 2017

Vietnam Day 4 - Ta Lai Village

I finally caught that dragon that I spotted yesterday!
So apparently, the park just burns their trash, and the monkeys come
to search for some food scraps. This monkey didn't see me, but they
do appear much bigger in person.
After last night's success with the frogs. I've decided on another late day in the park. I take the ferry across the river and into the park around 10:00, my pack loaded with bananas for the day and a few water bottles. I intend to explore the South end on the park today, and again I rent a bike. Hoping to climb Elephant hill for a sporty morning hike but again, I found that this trail doesn't exist. I'm starting to wonder how many trails on this map actually exist.

I take the main road South, bumping along the red mud and lava rock track, and pass a few lookout towers. These rickety old things, are quite rusted and missing plenty of boards, but they are meant to be used to gaze over the grasslands in hopes of spotting large ungulates grazing.
Eh, who needs steps on a watch tower anyway?
Whilst I continue my ride, I spot a familiar black figure slither onto the road in the unmistakable fluid motion only a snake. Booyah!!! That's a cobra! That's a full 1.4m adult cobra. Probably a monocled cobra. I drop the bike a race forward to get a better look and as I do so the cobra spots me. I can see that reaction I really dislike, because it means the animal is about to make a run for it, and snakes are notoriously hard to follow in quick pursuit, through a ditch full of vines and veg. My goodness this cobra is the fastest snake I've ever encountered, and I was only afforded a few chance glances at olive-grey scales as they disappeared into the trees. Man, I was pumped up, angry, and sad all at the same time. As I continue my ride, a large monitor lizard in the ditch sees me before I can even stop my bike. And again, this 1.5 meter long lizard is much faster than I ever thought possible and a few rare glimpses are all I get.
These seemed to be some of the nicer houses in the village.

Closer to the village I view several farm fields and small houses and shacks with chickens, ducks, dogs, pigs, and cows places hap-hazardously throughout. It becomes a bit more clear to me just how these people live. I've never seen such an isolated village, in which the people live so modestly, yet so happily. Children play in large groups, in whatever front yard they please, while mothers cook in the backs of open front houses that are no more than 300 square feet of floor space. The men seem to be all out working, repairing, or cleaning whatever needs to be done. Nobody has fences, front doors, or large automobiles, and I can't help but wonder, who is really happier?
And when I got back to my cabin, I saw this MASSIVE sider on my wall.
Good to know that something is here to eat those pesky moths!