Thursday, November 15, 2007

Trip to Cambodia - Part II

While in Siam Reap, we visited a "Floating Village". Now the whole concept would seem bizzare to you & me; but its an established way of life for many Cambodian fishermen. This village on the lake is made of houses built like boats. So one might go to bed one night in one corner of the lake & find himself drifted to another part of the lake the following morning! As the lake changes shape (it gets smaller & shallower during summer); the village moves to deeper locations. There are no fixed neighbours; no fixed directions; no fixed views from the bedroom windows....everything is adrift.

I would find it impossible to live in such a fluid & mobile *home*; but then sitting in a multi-storeyed condo in Singapore, I realise that circumstances are a matter of perception. While I dare not put myself in the shoes of those villagers (in my smug belief that my life is so much better than theirs); their bright shining faces told me, that the joys in their lives were as real as the joys in mine.

A floating restaurant, a floating church, a floating school & some floating houses (yes, those are TV antennae on those water-huts!!)

10 comments:

Hazel Dream said...

umm wana go there once

Parth said...

Interesting note this. I thought most of this floating business was around Thailand. The things you learn by reading other's blogs :)

kaya said...

Yes, I hv seen the boathouses in Thailand, and also the floating market. In fact even in Bangladesh I have seen people living this way.
But given my fear of water. A shower is enough for me.
I nearly had a panic FREAKOUT the night we went out on a lake to watch the millions of firflies @ the firefly park in Kuala Selangor (malaysia).

Milan - zzz said...

And how big is that lake? I mean if it's not too big why wouldn't they live on the shore? And what about the stormy nights/days? indeed that concept of living sound quite bizare from my warm room while outside is so beautifully snowing.

I remember I saw on one photo exhibition "water village" but it was in the ocean and (naturally) is not mobile.

Radha said...

Hazel Dream,
Hi there!
You really should :)

Parth,
The floating business happens in many parts of Asia...Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia.

Kaya,
You have a fear of water? I've heard abt the Fireflies Park & that does sound a fit creepy :))

Milan,
Hi again. The Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia is quite big & connects the two main cities in the country. I can't imagine what happens to these villages during storms; it can't be easy living on water. Why these fishermen choose to live on water I dont know; but these are very poor people & maybe cant afford land. Also, these houses usually have little "fish-farms" or "crocodile-farms" in front on their houses. Thats their main occupation.

Keshi said...

Terrific water pics WOW!

Keshi.

Moi said...

i like the idea of floating homes...every time you do not gel with your neighbor or have a problem with your surroundings, you move out without breaking any sorta lease!!!! :)

The house boats in Kashmir caught my fancy when i visited the place as a child though I do not know if Dal lake too changes shapes seasonally.......and in Netherlands too i was fascinated by the boat-homes on canals.....they were so prettily done up and such great space-management!!!!

Lovely post, Radha.

Radha said...

Keshi,
Thanks :)

Moi,
I've seen the boat-houses in Srinagar too as a kid & thought of them when I heard the phrase "Floating Village". But the Floating Village really is a village, an entire community, with shops, retsaurants, schools, everything on water.

suramya said...

ok, this is absolutely the next country I'm going to visit, i have made up my mind, I'm drooling with envy over the photos

Jin said...

Wow, what an interesting way to live! Fancy going to sleep at night & wondering which family will be your new neighbour!