Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Floating Village

On our last day, were all "templed out", so we took a completely different tour; a boat to ride through the world's largest floating village. On the way, we saw a stationary village on stilts, where the houses are lifted and raised during the rainy season, by adding one more layer of scaffolding.
During the Monsoon months the Tonle Sap ( or Great Lake) is the largest lake in Southeast Asia. There are approximately 3,000 people that actually live on this lake. It is completely self sufficient, with schools, gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, even a church, all floating amongst the homes in the lake. People live on their boats all year, and when the monsoons come, they all move to another spot; the entire community disappears and relocate.
These people, I gather from what our guide told us, are similar to the 'boat people' here... they are mainly Vietnamese who escaped from Vietnam from about 1978, across the border. These people are now misplaced, with no identity. Their children are not recognised as Cambodian, and have little prospect of ever getting off the water. However, what we saw were happy people, waving, welcoming us, always smiling.
We meandered around the boats in a speed boat, and saw gardens floating with herbs, pigs in a floating pen, and waved to children in their floating school.
We boarded a 'shop' (right), where we were treated to a preview of monsoonal rains; it pelted down for the first time in the trip; which we found most welcome after the humidity. There were no walls on this shop; plastic covers protected clothing for sale, otherwise everything got wet. One elderly lady there, looked so happy to see us; she showed us her chipped nail polish on her toes and fingers, and hugged us. (left).

1 comment:

  1. Well done, Karyn !!! Fantastic information for those at home and fellow participants. I know many of my family followed this blog closely. I also know that it took a lot of your time when you were exhausted by the riding, the travel, touring and other activities. Your persistence is remarkable. Thank you and best wishes Brendan Lourey