Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Friday, November 11, 2011

Revisiting a Floating Village

In the past several years I have visited floating villages in Thailand, Cambodia, and Peru. It amazes me that people actually build floating houses on foundations of wood or bamboo. They travel by dugout canoes. There are remarkable similarities between these widely scattered cultures. I know that I briefly touched upon the floating village of Prek Toal previously, but it deserves some more detailed attention. The photo above is actually the floating village of Chong Neas on Tonle Sap Lake in Cambodia. You have to start out there, and cross the largest lake in Southeast Asia to reach Prek Toal.
After about two hours in a fast boat, Gary, our tuk tuk driver, (who arranged the boat trip) the boatman, and myself reached the little village of Prek Toal. It is built at the edge of the seasonally flooded forest at the edge of Tonle Sap Lake. The village is high and dry for half the year, but we were there during the time of seasonal flooding. Where the trees are in the background of the photo above is not dry land, it is flooded forest.
Children play in front of their little houses, and they paddle around in boats that are almost too big for them to manage. Do they drink this water? Certainly their raw sewage goes into the water, and I see them swim and fish in this water. One person was even raising crocadiles in a floating pen in the village. Not too sanitary.
Many of the houses have dogs that dutifully guard the home.
I think the red building in the background is the village school.
It was surprising to see a floating Christian church in a Bhuddist land. I dont even remember whether there was a Bhuddist temple in Prek Toal or not.
An Oriental Magpie Robin on top of an administrative building of some sort. I think that the little white things hanging under the overhang are cacoons.
Blue-tailed Bee-eaters were my first of 13 species of bee-eater that I have seen so far. Prek Toal is the only place where I saw them.
I was also thrilled to see a Painted Stork fly over the village. It was another first sighting of that species for me.
Brahminy Kite was also a first in the village. The real purpose of our visit to the village was the adjacent Prek Toal Bird Sanctuary nearby. I'll do a post about that little adventure soon.

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