Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Skipping Across Tonle Sap

Headphones are at top volume so I can rock out over the roar of the speedboat engine as we skip across Tonle Sap, the largest fresh water lake in southeast Asia. It feels more like we are going over a calm sea since the body of water is big enough that you cannot see the shores.

Last evening we took a small boat away from Siem Reap along small canals surrounded by rice paddies with heads of big water buffalo peaking out on our way to a local floating village situated on the delta flowing into the lake. We got the the village as school let out and all the children were rowing their tiny canoes back home. There were no tourists and nobody was trying sell us the usual crap. It was such a peaceful and charming village.

Houses, market shops, and the school were on their own little floating islands. The pigs and chickens had their own floating abode tethered to the homes by rope. The smaller "convenient stores" were tiny boats loaded with snacks and produce that meandered to each house delivering goods.

We lay in hammocks on top of the floating restaurant enjoying a cold beer as the sun set over the village. I have not visited a quieter town. The people move as slow as the gentile water they live on. Could people be any more watery?

We are now on our way to Phenom Phen, the Capital of Cambodia. The first part of the express boat zoomed across the lake and the last half runs down the rivers with a phenomenal view of the countryside and it's inhabitants. Other travelers on the boat made their way to the roof to wave back at all the families fishing the river. The blare of the engine is so loud that nobody can talk and everyone has their headphones on. We are all working with completely different soundtrack, but watching the same movie.


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