Thursday, August 20, 2009


While my short visit to Cambodia was centered around the temples and ancient cities of Angkor, I did have a chance to see Siam Reap and visit the floating village on the great lake. The boat people of this area are a unique culture. Both Vietnamese and Khmer live on and around the lake. Watching the children play, swim, wash and move about in and on the water convinced me that they are about as much a part of water as any people can be.

One of the kids' pastimes is floating about in washbasins with a paddle tucked under the elbow in one hand and a cup (if they are lucky enough to have one) in the other to bale out the small basin. With a graceful sweeping motion of the paddle in front of the basin, they move with amazing speed and direction.

While you can definitely notice a marked decrease in organization and cleanliness when you cross the boarder from Thailand into Cambodia, the people are captivating. I read "First They Killed My Father" (this is a great account of one little girl's experience under the Khmer Rouge control) and "The Killing Fields" on my way here and was moved with how much turmoil a whole people can experience. I will need to come back to Cambodia again as I found the people to be intriguing.

People with very little, often seem to find interesting ways of enjoying themselves.

I guess bamboo makes an available and adequate reinforcement for concrete.

A floating 7/11.

Typical rowing position of the Vietnamese boat people.

The great lake in the center of Cambodia.

A regular floating supermarket.

Stilt houses on the lake.

Typical Viet Nam style boat.

Stilt village.

Arrival in Cambodia. I would not want to have been here between 1975 and 1979 during the khmer rouge time.