Thursday, December 11, 2014

Siem Reap: One Great Lake

On this, our final day in Siem Reap, we paid a visit to a fishing Village on Tamle Sao Lake, or the Great Lake. At about 75 kilometers long and 32 kilometers wide, it's the biggest lake in Southeast Asia, but it shrinks from 14000 square kilometers in the wet season to 2700 square kilometers in the dry season, during which farmers grow crops in the uncovered lake bed.

It's an amazing phenomenon, and we enjoyed as well our boat ride with the world's youngest captain and first mate.

We learned also that traditional Cambodians built their houses on stilts, not only to protect against flooding, but to provide storage and shade below the dwelling.

On our boat ride from the channel to the fishing village out to the lake, we passed near a literally floating village of about 150   Vietnamese families who were originally refugees from the "American War," as they call it. 

Considering events in Cambodia - the Killing Fields - it looks to outsiders like a frying-pan-to-fire situation, but apparently the Vietnamese now comprise a significant percentage of the population and have some influence within the government. In fact, we gather there are some hard feelings.

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