Banner for John P Seely.com - Travel Writing and Photography
 


Home Laos Tales From The Mekong ⇒ The Corpse

The Mekong: River of Death

3The Corpse

Children are often swept away by the currents.
Children are often swept away by the currents.

It was towards the end of the second day on the river that we saw the body. We were nodding off, tired and listless after the long hot, humid afternoon when we heard people exclaiming and pointing back to the middle of the river to a point in mid-stream that we had just passed while crossing from one side to the other.


At first we saw what looked like a sun-bleached log of wood but then it rolled in the current and an unmistakable hand reached limply out of the water stayed up for a few heart-stopping seconds and then was gone, taken by the churning currents. It was several seconds before we could respond but by then the body had gone. We asked what would happen now. Were we going to try and retrieve it? But we were told we would do nothing. To get involved was asking for trouble. Anyone who reported it was likely to be arrested and blamed for the death.

The Mekong heading through Laos.
The Mekong heading through Laos.

“Better, much better to keep quiet,” they said. A few days later in Luang Prabang we heard that the body had given many fishermen a shock as it passed the city in the water, but nobody reported it to the authorities or attempted to recover it. It was left to feed the fish.

 
 
Banner for John P Seely.com - Travel Writing and Photography