DAY 302: THE PANGO STING FALLS FLAT: I DELAY FLIGHT BY THREE DAYS ONLY TO MISS THE BOAT BY ONE HOUR
There’s one fatal flaw to travelling round the world trying to help animals and writing a blog about it: stories start but they rarely finish.
I find it hard to give neat Hollywood endings. It’s also find it hard to look like Brad Pitt when accidentally drowning a tortoise.
Today we arrived at the cool darkness of the banks of the Mekong river to try and witness the illegal pangolin trade coming across from Thailand en route to Vietnam and then China. We got there at the painfully pointless time of 5:45am to find out that we had missed the haul by an hour. Neon lights flickered in the darkness and there were remnants of suffering. Large plastic crates littered the floor. My guide found out a few hours earlier they had been used to transport the poor creatures which were then transferred to bags and put in trucks.
A 3 day delay to my flight only to watch a murky sunrise over the grey waters of this vast river.
Time is constantly ticking.
In a few weeks I have a self imposed deadline to start my work on farms and so must leave the pangolin story behind in exchange for some work on pigs that I am doing in Europe. More to follow.
I was nervous about the filming today.
I feel an unhealthy mix of excitement and misery every time I find myself pushed into dangerous and illegal situations for the sake of tyring to help or raise awareness. Why do I get into these situations? It proves that so many animals live at the torn edges of society – a place that should be inhabited by no-one.
Driving back home we saw a woman on the side of the road bent over a dog crying. The dog had just been hit by a bus. It’s face was crushed, neck broken at 90 degrees. A very common fate given that so many dogs are running freely along the roadside. I was surprised to see that level of emotion associated with animals out here. I suppose I’ve become a little too cynical. Of course people care, but their boundaries of compassion are different than ours.
But everything is so bloody raw here. It gets to me. Perhaps if I stayed here longer I would become numb to it.
What a terrible thought.
Tomorrow I’m back to Hanoi where I’m going to visit some more markets in an attempt to save more animals before heading home. As a dear friend said to me recently upon being told of my rescue attempts
‘Martin, you are pissing into the wind’