An Excerpt from my Travelogue “Enjoy the Journey, a Tale of a Backpacker”
…The first day was spent exploring a village that floats on the largest Southeast Asian lake. Our personal tuk-tuk driver drove us out to a man-made harbor where we caught a boat. After climbing into and out of many other boats, we reached the boat we had for hire. The driver and his helper pushed us out into the canal and we motored out into the chocolate brown lake. Kids were swimming, sliding down muddy slopes, and catching fish, mimicking their fathers. We rode around houses and shops, surrounded by this filthy water. It was an amazing thing to see. I can only imagine needing to take a rowboat to a neighbor’s house. Little boys paddled around in circles, floating in large metal bowls; little girls were in boats, forcing bananas into our faces, trying their hardest to sell a bunch. It is a completely different way of life that I had never imagined to exist. It had a school, a hospital, and a police station all mounted firmly in the lake. I wonder if they use a yellow school boat? From what I understand, it is a kind of loophole village where illegal immigrants, being unable to live on Cambodian soil, stay afloat living on the water.
We met a fellow one evening, a staff member at the hotel. He was a curious young man who carried around a notebook. Inside this notebook he had pages filled with information from around the world, information that was given to him by nomadic travelers passing through the hotel. He asked me to draw a diagram of a hand, labeling each of the fingers: index, middle, pinky, etc. Another mate had drawn and written out the procedures involved in taking a flight. He had never been to an airport before; he had never been anywhere else before.