Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tonlé Sap- The Great Lake

Before we headed to the airport for our flight to Vietnam and our ship, we had a lake cruise on Tonlé Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia.

It was...interesting.

It would have been fine if I hadn't had that panic attack over the python.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We headed out to see some floating villages and experience how the fishing families live. (note to Crystal: stick with the temples).

Driving away from civilization the city, I noticed a marked change in standard of living.

And unfortunately, the Cambodian government has no control on the garbage situation.  It's sad.

We were bused into a shiny new (not even finished) port reception area.

Where touring boats awaited us.

Actually, those shiny new ones weren't ours.  Check the port reception photo for ours.

We are beginning to understand the complexities of net fishing.

The houseboats look very much like the houseboats in Bangkok.

But are actually IN the lake.

Kids play in a boat instead of on land, I guess.

There are reminders that one is in the 21st century.

Can you find the rooster?

I feel like a voyeur as we ogle these families.

I'm really uncomfortable with this feeling.

I wonder what they make of these boatloads of very, very  WHITE people starring into their homes and snapping photos..........

Things are really starting to pull at me.... the simplicity of fishing life, the modernity of telecommunications...the starkness of fishing nets versus satellite dishes.

But then, there's this sweet face.

Now, I'm up for almost any know that.

But, somewhere along the great tourism way, some brillant so-and-so thought American tourists might like a photo of a kid draped in a python.

Um...have I mentioned I'm phobic about snakes??

I was already feeling conflicted and uncomfortable, and as soon as I saw this family on the OTHER side of the boat, the panic started...sweaty palms, heart racing, shallow breathing... I tried to control it as best I could...

Hey maybe taking photos, and looking at the scene through a lens will help....and it did.  Until the snakeboat came to OUR side of the tourboat.

God bless my mother--I practically crawled into her lap. I swear to Gawd, if that snake had gotten any closer,  I would have walked on water.  Thankfully, a few others were (almost) as unnerved as I, and our guide made sure the boat moved back.  They also assured us the python was dead (I don't believe that for a minute).

Well, that's why there aren't any more photos until we get back to land.  I didn't stop shaking--hell, I didn't stop hyperventilating-- for about 30 minutes.

Didn't need that afternoon cup of coffee, either.

Back on terra firma (blessedly snake FREE terra firma) we drove past a lovely patch of waterlilies.

(probably has a bunch of pythons in it, though).

(probably a python lurking just under that waterlily on the right).

Ok...I agree...I can do Cambodia...I'll work the landmines, if someone else will deal with the snakes.

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