Sunday, 18 September 2011

Journey of Discovery on the Mekong: News.com.au


THEIR feet and legs bleeding from gaping wounds, they hauled the boats across the jagged rocks and through muddy, leech-infested swamps.

Their shoes long worn out and discarded, the men continued on undaunted as the weeks turned into months and the months into years.

The search for the source of the Mekong, and the presumed river road to the riches of China, obsessed them to the point of madness. The ill-prepared but typically defiant French soldiered on for two years, leading them into China but tantalisingly short of their ultimate quest.

Once considered among the wildest rivers of the world, the 4350km Mekong (or Mother of Water) is the 12th longest river in the world and seventh longest in Asia. Its daunting rapids and narrow, raging gorges thwarted the French as much as the turbulent politics that festered along its banks. For the men of the 1866-68 Mekong Expedition, it would ultimately bring them undone and, albeit a century later, so too the French colonial administration.

Read full story at news.com.au