We have cruised overnight across Tonle Sap lake and are now on the Tonle Sap river. Recent floods have widened the river which is dotted with floating hyacinth, stilted houses and the odd small island. We disembarked this morning to visit the floating village of Kampong Chhnang by small motor boat. As we cruised the waterways children jumped up and down and waved but for the most part life went on as usual at the floating school, the floating shop and numerous other floating businesses.
Finally we docked at the pier and went on a walking tour. The poverty is amazing and yet everyone is clean, well fed and seem to be happy. How little they want from life. Unlike many other places I have visited where a photo means a dollar or two – here the children were more than happy to have their picture taken and then to have a chance to look at the digital image in the camera. Big smiles blossomed when they recognised their faces.
We could see the French influence at the market bread store where baskets of golden baked baguettes were laid out for sale – but the amazing thing was that this was bread made out of rice flour. What a boost that would be in Canada for people with wheat allergies.
After touring the village we got back onto our motor boat and travelled back to our luxurious river boat – what a strange contrast it is. We float down the river in such luxury with air conditioning, ice clinking in our drinks and crisp white sheets on our beds. Somehow it seems a bit wrong.