This was in the Wat where local musicians were doing there best to prepare the full moon party of this evening.
It's (for a music lover like I am) interesting seeing them playing all these local instruments.
They wanted to play a song for me if I gave them a few sigarettes. Why not?
In Kampong Chnnang I did nothing more than just walk around, without much purpose. Just to look at the people living there. I was very relaxed and so were they.
I passed some houses near the river where I saw a little blue house on a stake.
What would this be?
* A birdhouse?
* A house of spirits?
There was really nothing to do in KC so I strolled around and found a motodriver who would take me to the highlights in the vicinity of the city.
I paid him maybe 6 US $ for a whole day and he took me to some places which were more or less interesting.
The first stop was at a Wat (what did you think) where we had a beautiful view.
Small villages appear every so often, their houses built on long stilts to protect against the used-to-be-annual flooding of the river. Commerce is the name of the game here. Agricultural products grown in the fields near these villages are collected here and sold up/down the river to Kampong Chhnang.
The Tonle Sap produces a compelling view of Cambodian life. The river is one of the lifelines of the nation: highway, fishmarket, plumbing system. Throughout the five-hour ride from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, you can see all sorts of Cambodians carrying on their daily lives, and it's a great reminder that as enticing as the world is to visit, most people live without the ability to travel and explore other cultures. Instead, they try to scrape out a living as their ancestors have done for millennia.
Cruising up the river is hardly painful work, but it helps to have water and munchies to bide your time. There's not a lot of traffic up the Tonle Sap, certainly not compared to the Vietnamese Mekong, but what boats you do share the "road" with a like this guy: local boaters punting along with supplies for their riverside hovels.
If you go to Kampong Chhnang, you're probably on the river. Unlike Cambodian roads, the Tonle Sap river is smooth, with none of the potholes that make roads such a back-breaking, bone-jarring ordeal. The luxury boat (cheap to foreigners, crazy expensive to locals) cruises up the river, with its passengers splayed upon its deck absorbing the tropical sunshine. Very happy ride.
Sorry for the picture but it was a little bit raining that night.
Even at a religious ceremony, there's always Thai boxing...
There were innumerable foodstalls at the ceremony. I ate some of this, some of that and it was delicious (for no money at all)
Here the people were watching their full moon ceremony.
In the back you see the lights of the podium
All along the length of the river, Buddhist shrines and stupas appear on the shore, their golden roofs reflecting the sun above.