Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cambodia, along the Mekong River

We boarded our river boat that will become our 'home' for a week. It felt good to unpack and settle in. It is a new boat, I think this is the 6th voyage - another sign of the increasing popularity of tourism along the Mekong.

It was surreal as we boarded, local people stood around and watched us get off the buses and board the boat. It is not the usual town for the boat to dock, since the flood caused us to modify our route - so it was like a huge local event.

Today we visited a village where we could walk around and see how they live. There is a small organization that tries to teach the kids English and encourages the adults to do local crafts. We saw a woman weaving cotton scarves, so you can guess what I bought before I left - yes, one of her scarves.

We then visited a Buddhist temple, where the nuns were celebrating the end of the rainy season. At that same location in the mid 1970's, the Khmer Rouge conducted interrogations in the temple - and the executions at an area nearby. We stood on the site of the executions - one of the many 'Killing Fields' - and I just wonder how we as a human race keep allowing massacres like this to happen.

Back to the boat for lunch and life jacket drill - the last stop for the day was a weaving village. This village could teach classes in sales and marketing. As we walked through the mud and tried to avoid piles of cow poop, the kids were asking what is your name, where are you from, etc. We went into several homes that were weaving silk and cotton blends, and cotton.

They can't afford to buy the silk thread to weave only silk due to inflation. Their looms are amazing, compared to the nice neat ones we use in the US. Just a pile of wood and bamboo, that create lovely cloth.

Check out these little boys pretending to ride horses with palm stems.

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