Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Day at the Lake - Tonle Sap, Cambodia

Today we met up with the no eaters club and hit the lake.  It is ironic that I live on a lake I have never visited, but have come across the world, excited to see the Tonle Sap lake of Cambodia.  To be honest, it is no Lake Lewisville.  The lake people here are a slightly different breed, and are probably more likely to starve to death than accidentally mow over a water-skier while drunk on red bull and vodka.  My analogy may be a tad macabre and definitely unnecessary, but the lake area is a very poor region.  It is where those that cannot afford to live on land must live, barely eking out survival on the bounty of the lake.  Schooling is an afterthought as most kids drape themselves in snakes or manage other creative ways to coax tourists into parting with cash.  As serious earners, this time spent helps support their family at the opportunity cost of school.  Our guide told us that we should not give them money, because doing so enables this to continue.  It is a tough situation.  Families need to earn money, but the only way to buck the trend is through education.  Education is the key to developing countries.

We decided to spend our money on pencils and books for a floating school.  The scene in the school was insane.  Kids everywhere, yelling, writing, high fiving, and ro-sham-bo-ing.  It was great to see some form of education floating in such an unlikely place.  I really like today's pictures and hope that you do as well.

 Zissou the pup and mom 

 Lemongrass Chicken 

 BBQ beef, tasted a bit funky 

 Kristin getting a massage in our bed

 Siem Reap students

 On the way to the lake we passed interesting homes 

 This is a full truck 

 Some sort of local political HQ

 A house on stilts 

 We were blessed with a nice day.  It did not rain once.

 A kid gazing out at the fields 

 I love observing village life 

 We saw these scarecrows everywhere 

 The kids over here mainly use adult bikes, so it is common to see them struggling a bit due to size 

 The further you get out of Siem Reap, the more ramshackle things get and you remember that this country is quite poor 

 Our boat driver, Captain Ahab 

 Everything on the lake is built to rise and fall with the lake levels.  In the wet season the lake gets very deep, and the currents are quite dangerous for lake dwellers.  Many people drown.

 A machine shop 

 love these shutters


 The waters are still fairly low, so this is definitely subsistence fishing 

 We passed man y commuters, and a kid on our boat was dropped off at a floating school 

 Hey bud

 After a trip down the river, the lake opened up suddenly.  It is huge.  The largest lake in southeast asia.

 So here is the drill, kids are ridiculously cute here.  They come alongside your boat with snakes or whatever, and once you take a picture, they board your boat and demand a dollar.  
 The Neighborhood
 Here a kid swims 

 Shouldn't you loons be in school

 It feels quasi apocalyptic to visit an entire city on the water

 It is the beginning of the wet season so the water level is still low 

 There are alot of these floating gardens 


 A colorful home 

 They even watch the World Cup out here 

 This was one of the nicer homes that we saw 

 It rains so hard here that you can only see a few meters 

 Out on the lake 

 Fish farm

 This was the strangest proportioned dog that I have ever seen in my life 

 The Mens restroom, very liberating.  Something tells me the pee just ends up in the lake anyways, so it is a civilized touch.

 At the lake convenience store 

 The only flag to feature a building - Cambodia

 This kid is clutching a pack of smokes 

 seems dangerous 

 Cute kid 

 We bought some books for the kids to write in 

 The school 

 Packed with kids

 They all wanted to high five or play rock, paper, scissors 

 Pretty crowded 

 Ryan playing games

 These kids were pretty fun 

 Their teacher 

 The ubiquitous peace sign 

 Our boat 

 Howdy pardner 

 The whole crew

 This was really funny.  When we got off the boat, they tried to sell us these plates that had pictures of us on them.  The best part about these pictures is they were completely candid and were all really bad.  Ryan looked like a bad guy in Top Gun, and I am clearly frowning.  Hilarious.

 The stairs to a mountain temple 


 Puppy and mom 

 lazy day at Kool Hotel 

 Back to back "Rach Special" furmonster of the day - Pupsters

 Some Tuk Tuk driver playing cards, love the reflection of me 

 AT Paper Tiger for lunch

 Chicken Amok - A Cambodian chicken dish cooked with coconut milk in a banana leaf 


 Fan repair man 


The River
 Night Market 

 Night Market 

 Kristin bargaining for shirts 

 Red Piano Bar

 These fish are everwhere

 Mango Marg...what?

 Yup, we went there 

 Pub Street 

 Wet Burrito 

 While eating, we lost power, this guy banged around until it came back on 


 Cheap scarves

 Ear candling.  I felt very experimental tonight 


  1. Superb post. I think the lake community is the most interesting socioeconomic area you have described of your trip so far. How often were you accosted for money in this area? Were the children relentless or were you able to enjoy yourself? You look like a very happy boy with that candle in your ear.

  2. We love reading your blog-pictures are amazing.
    Julie and Jared

  3. whoops,
    Julie and Jared