After all the fancy things I had encountered at the Royal Angkor hotel, I was deeply moved by the people I’ve seen in our first destination in Siem Reap – the fishermen’s floating village.
From the hotel, we rode the hotel’s service and went to a small pier where boats bringing travelers to the floating village are parked. Venus and I plus a solo traveler who I believe is an Argentinian, occupied the whole boat that is supposedly good for more or less 15 pax, I think. not sure why though, but it just went off after we boarded. it took a long while before we finally arrived the village, maybe an hour or ++. The water isn’t clean, it has a muddy brown color. The local tour guide said some locals throw their waste unto the lake, even their poops! @_@ I’ve even imagined that there were crocs in the lake, just like i see in movies. .
Now don’t imagine how Venus reacted on this trip. . haha! She’s used to seeing slums in the Philippines but not actually going through it. No word can describe our faces when the muddy water splashed unto our boat. We didn’t get wet but the fact that you’ve known what stuff are thrown into the lake, wouldn’t you f*ckin’ scream when you got wet? imagine the lake water splashed unto your face! haha. .
As we get nearer the village, we saw random floating houses made of wood. The tour guide said normally the houses are owned by fishermen. We even saw a small flaoting school. Finally, we arrived on a floating restaurant (with a souvenir shop) where around were more floating houses. Such sight had aroused a compassionate emotion in me. I can’t imagine myself and my family living in such a fate. It’s so difficult to have none and yet these Cambodians continue to survive. I’m very much aware of poverty in the Philippines, but the lifestyle when you live above the water is just damn tough. You have to take a boat every time you want to get your ass off from your flat. I bet they don’t have clean water for their everyday use, I bet they use the water in the lake. I guess they insisted to live in the middle of the lake because, um, they cant afford to buy/rent a land?
After the visit to the floating village, we ended our day with a buffet dinner. Not sure if what I had were Cambodian food but all just looked (and tasted) very familiar – near to Thai, Malay and Filipino cuisine. The restaurant entertained the diners with a lovely slow Cambodian folk dance. The dancers’ costumes are so colorful and adorable, I wanted to try on. 🙂
Despite the filth and hardships from living on the floating village, I must say I admire the humble character of these Cambodians who indeed, like Filipinos, make the most of what they have and continue fight the struggles and live. No wonder why Angelina Jolie get into the humanitarian works after she taped Tomb Raider in Cambodia. I bet she was also deeply moved, maybe much more than I did.