A river running out of time – the mighty Mekong reduced to a trickle

In his book, River of Time, Jon Swain evoked brilliantly the heady beauty of Indochina and the great Mekong Delta in the very south of Vietnam, where the river finally meets the South China Sea. He also captured the terrifying uncertainty as the Vietnam War came to an end and the Khmer Rouge marched into Phnom Penh.

The plot twists and turns against a backdrop of jungle and the fabled Mekong River, which in full flood covers an area larger than Belgium. As Swain wrote: “Some rivers are so still, so complacent, so dead that they leave one’s heart indifferent. The Mekong is not one of them. To see it in full spate as it thunders over the Koh Khong falls in a welter of foam in the rainy season, is to know its awesome power.”

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