[Floating Shop on the Tonle Sap at the Phnom Krom village]
I fell in love with the elemental power and beauty of the waterways of Cambodia . An entrancing waterlogged world, a stream so abundant and all-providing, a true river of life for its millions. Crisscrossing its pale-brown waterways on flitting boats and ferries, I was moved by the grace and purpose of people absorbed in its amphibious rhythms: journeying, planting, harvesting and netting.
[Typical House in the Phnom Krom village which rise and wall with the tides of Tonle Sap river]
Thursday morning I watched life on , sampans, cone-hatted passengers, boat-dwellers steaming and frying their supper to the sound of tinny music.Numerous floating fish farms hug the river's edge, with cages reaching 18 feet into the water filled with fish destined for the factory 40 miles away. My boat wandered among the waterways lined with timber houses perched on stilts others floating on tires.
[Tourist Boat on the Tonle Sap river]
As we slowly move forward past quaint fishing villages, the world floats by in shades of blue and the Tonle Sap seems like a long, wide, lazy, paradise. A pair of brown cheeked Kingfishers perch themselves elegantly on a pole, ignoring us as we slip slowly through endless beds of floating weeds.
[Women at Phnom Krom buys her groceries from a floating vendor]
As I travel through Cambodia I realize that much of the nation's psyche is connected to water – the waterways of the Tonle Sap and the Mekong river.
"Thanks to the water, and thanks to the moon," my guide tells me.
"The water provides many things -- water gives us life."