We take a trip to see the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins a few of which are still found in this part of the Mekong. The trip is pieced together in the usual magical way. We hand over a wad of notes. Most of this is put in an envelope and handed to the boatman, who takes us to the mainland. He takes a slice of money from the envelope and hands the rest to the minibus driver who meets us. He drives us south and we take a boat into what is effectively Cambodia, but not before the driver hands more money out of the envelope to the boatman.
We arrive at an island and sit for ages and after a while a solitary dolphin, with its distinct blunt nose breaks the surface now and then, swimming in a seemingly random pattern. A second one joins briefly and then they disappear. One of the reasons they are now so rare here is because Pol Pot slaughtered about 5,000 of them, to try and break a local belief that they were reincarnated souls. The boatman pays a fee to the dolphin research station on the island for our visit and then returns us to the mainland and our driver, who takes us to the big falls, paying our admission from the envelope. Then back to the boat and our island home.
I love this way of stringing business together. All are individuals working for themselves and the whole thing is put together with mobile phone calls.