Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Tonle Sap: Home is wherever the heart is

After our lunch, we begin to realize how hot the weather can turn to be. We chose to run back to the 4WD that we hired for the day, sweating profusely at all time. Not sure where to go next, I quickly suggested that we should just as well go to the Tonle Sap for a lake cruise.

Well... before we even begin the journey, we were brought to the boat agent in town to get the ticket at USD$20 per person (only 30 min ride). Along the ticket, there were some loose change that were suppose to be a "bribe" or sort at the check point before arriving at the lake.

Then, the driver drove over the bridge that link the older market, into what eventually turned into a laterite road that is full of potholes.

It is my first encounter with how local people live their lives here. Not surprisingly most house has a nipah roof and knitted walls. I bet it must've been leaking on rainy days.


There was a market when we just moved out from the city, mostly displayed on the ground laden with plastic sheets.


The further we went, houses eventually turned into hut. Mostly doesn't have electricity nor water supply.


Drinking water is supplied by a truck in those plastic blue containers, while for normal washing, people walked to nearest hand-pumped well for supply. Most of the wells we found around Siem Reap were donated by various bodies. They all have a sign on them saying who donated this and that well.


Though most doesn't have electricity, but they keep in contact with the outer world with a small back and white tv connected to a 12 volt car battery.


These huts are mobile it seems. When the water rise too high, then it will be the time for them to collapse the walls and roofs, moving everything to higher ground. Like a hermit crab...

Arriving at the so called pier, mostly just boat parking aside, we were whisked into a boat start our journey. The waterways... together with the whole lake is really muddy, musked with a very strong fish smell. Water level is so low, that people is standing in the mud doing some fishing here and there.


There are some work done here, probably to dig the bed deeper but I really doubt it will work with the amount of siltation going around the whole place!


There's much to see here with that $20 we've paid. Past a NGO funded floating school, then cruise around the so called floating village.


Everything looking rather glim here, even the boat house look so simple and empty. But still I managed to see someone snoozing away like in wonderland feeling at peace. Guess home is wherever the heart is!


We then stopped at a floating souvinir restaurant. There really aren't that much to buy here, seeing most of stuffs look similar from what you can get in both Thailand and Vietnam, at a more expensive price of course. All the tourist were being push around for drinks, or walk to the catfish enclosure, or the crocodile enclosure.


Not surprise, 'villager' around started coming nearby by row boat making the kid to sell us something. This cute boy was asking $1 for a bunch of bananas.


Hmmm... it was tempting really seeing how anxious he wants the sale done, but I hold back as I don't really need to carry bananas with me.

Rain soon announced its arrival with thunderous noise and splitting lightnings. Our boat guys was not at all keen in letting us go as we hardly bought anything here. But alas, they've got no choice when I angrily told him to go. Still, when we came back, they actually demanded big time tipping from us, something like more than $1 one person!!! So be warned!!!


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