Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Kampong Khleang & Tonle Sap Lake

Kim our tuk tuk driver picked us up this morning for the hour and half ride to the floating village of Kompong Khleang and the Tonles Sap lake. The village is built entirely on stilts and the locals rely solely on the fish they catch in the lake for their survival. 
The journey to the village itself was interesting as it took us away from the main town and through dusty, bumpy roads and lanes and eventually to the village. We got to see much more of the surrounding countryside including rice paddies, cattle grazing, street side stalls selling snacks, markets, local housing, schools, cemeteries and several weddings!
The journey in itself was an experience and on arrival at the village we were struck by the poverty. Whole families living in one room shacks, dogs lazing outside, more often than not chickens scratching at the red, dusty ground and on occasion we also saw pigs tethered to a pole with a mud bath to lie in. Cattle were always present. The sights and sounds were like nothing we have experienced before and, as fish is the main event here the smell was at times, overpowering. Nonetheless, it was real and this is what we had come to see. Once out on the lake we were able to see the stilted houses in full glory and further along from the village the smaller homes where people live and sell goods, all on the water.
It was a truly amazing sight and experience and one which we will never forget. It also had a profound affect on us and our lasting memory will be the smiling faces on those who must struggle every day simply to eat every day. 

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