After spending so much time in rural Cambodia with fishermen, for whom fish is their life and livelihood, it’s strange to be in Kunming in Yunnan Province in China where development is massive and it counts more that you have the latest iPad or Audi.
‘Go to the airport’, had the travel agent told us. But before going on a wild goose chase that would not get us a decent price I first spent a few more hours researching the internet. Even a close study of the airport in Google Earth didn’t reveal the presence of any small airplanes.
‘Air walks on a plane in Tan Son Nhat International (Saigon)’, is what I found on the internet. ‘It is a rental aircraft. For a small fee you can rent a plane for air walks.’ Great news I thought, we can focus on aerial photos in the Mekong Delta after we decided to postpone a flight in Cambodia due to bad weather. (Every day around 4pm clouds rolled in over Tonle Sap Lake, spoiling the beautiful light you need for aerial photos.)
Angkor Wat, the famous temple and Cambodia’s number one tourist attraction could never have been built without the water of the Mekong River. The different civilizations that ruled Angkor and the Southeast Asian region throughout hundreds of years depended heavily on fishing and the irrigation of rice fields through ponds that annually filled up when the Mekong water level rose in the monsoon season.
A lot is happening with Disputed Waters. Ronald and André (a new contributor, check out his bio) arrived in Cambodia to spend five days with fishermen that are suffering from declining fish levels. Célia, another new contributor, has left for Israel to cover the problems surrounding the Jordan River. Her posts will soon appear here as well.
A journalist and a photographer report on potential dangers to the Mekong River in Southeast Asia causing international tensions.
Just a few more years, according to a recent Egyptian report, and then, in 2017, the demand for water will exceed the supply in Egypt. How to avoid such a situation?
Okay, we have to admit it: the pyramids in Giza, at the outskirts of Cairo, are slightly off-topic when it comes to disputed waters.
Still, this picture really symbolises the Egypt of today: no tourists, camels and pyramids still there, the country under control of the army.
Back in Cairo! In order to get a press accreditation for a field visit with the Ministry of Water in the next days, we went to the Ministry of Information this evening, located in the same building as the (former?) Egyptian state television. The building straddles the east bank of the Nile, next to the burnt-out former party centre of Mubarak`s NDP in central Cairo.
Abdel Geber Regab is 42, but he looks at least ten years older. He lives in Beni Achmed, a village along the Nile, three hours south of Cairo. Life is hard here, and working the land is even harder. ‘Of course my back hurts! Every farmer has problems with his back, but we are used to it. We have been farmers since Pharaonic times.’