Boat people of Tonle Sap

Trip Start Feb 19, 2010
Trip End Mar 08, 2010

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Thursday, February 25, 2010

We leave this morning by 8 for the 1.5 hour bus drive to the great Tonle Sap lake which Seth informs us is the largest in Asia. There's an entire culture in Cambodia of people who live on or next to the lake- some in boat houses completely on the water, others who live over the water and move their houses as the water rises and falls, and those who live next to the water in houses raised several stories above the water. We take an hour ride on a small boat, up the lake tributary and then out onto the lake itself. The sun is glaring but its cooler than at the wats. We mostly sit in the shade of our roofed boat.

We stop in Siem Reap on the way back to have lunch. Then we’re dropped off at the old market downtown. I’m schlepping camera equipment as well as the eeeepc, hoping to end up at the blue pumpkin where they have free wifi. J. and D. and I do some very sweaty shopping, picking up gifts. The souvenir shops stock much the same things- typically silk items- from pillow covers to scarfs to table cloths to their special one-size fits all wrap pants. We all pick up something. Then on to the blue pumpkin which has the promised free wifi, as well as reallly good deserts. We settle into the air-conditioned upstairs lounge- and I really mean lounge. Against the wall, they’ve arranged what can only be described as a long bed. People lounge (even sleep) on this comfy contraption with the bed-table at their side. The sheets are changed when the lounging customer departs. We opt for a regular table, lemon juice drinks, and ice cream sundaes and spend a couple hours playing with email.

Then back out into the sweaty process of shopping. And we  end up walking all the way back to the hotel. Not a great feat in SF, but pretty awful in that heat.  Nice cool shower to prevent heat stroke, and then laying around doing odds and ends before bedtime.
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