Kompong Phhluk

Today we decided not to do temples, so instead we took a trip to the big lake around here named Tonle Sap.   It’s a big feature in Cambodian life, and scattered around the edges are a bunch of neat village communities.  We left in the morning and rode a couple miles down the road until we reached a river inlet, where we hopped aboard a nice boat and meandered through a floating village whose name escapes us.  It is known as a floating village because all of village life takes place on boats: people live on house boats, travel by little motorized canoes, visit the store boat, the school boat, the church boat, the temple boat, the restaurant boat, the laundry boat (very funny looking), etc. 

Then we shot out onto the lake.  We had no idea just how big Tonle Sap is–but even looking across it the short way there’s no way that you can see the other side. We skirted just a bit of the top edge of it, and it took us well over an hour to get where we were going, which was the "flooded forest" and village of Kompong Phhluk.  This was neat.  It was located alongside a river whose banks were permanently under water, so that all along the sides of you were trees that were halfway underwater and whose branches reached near to the water, forming little canopies.  We then arrived at the village, which was entirely on stilts.  Apparently, when the monsoon comes, Tonle Sap floods, inundating the entire town except for the houses on stilts.  It was quite the sight, although we were bothered incessantly by young children begging.  (The difference between a middle income country like Indonesia, where in the more urban areas most children are in school all day, and a poor country like Cambodia even in the urban areas most very young children are working, has become really striking.)  Then we got to go into a smaller boat and float through the canopied forest,. after which we headed back home.  Aside from our guide repeatedly trying to get us to pay him a tip, it was a very interesting day.  We even got to see some catfish, snakes, and crocodiles.  We’re going to try to get our pictures online soon, and I am sure that they will describe our trip better than I (TP) have.

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