Friday, April 15, 2016


Well, it was not all work and no play during the trip. James, the team leader, arranged for us to visit Kampong Cham town in Kampong Cham Province. "Cham" in Khymer means "Muslim", so supposedly there are many Muslims living there. The word "Cham" itself is derived from the Cham Kingdom, which in its heydays, was flourishing in Vietnam and Cambodia. This shot is of floating homes of Vietnamese sea-gypsies. Many sea-gypsies live in such homes in the Tongle Sap River further upstream.

This is the famous bamboo bridge in Kampong Cham. The bridge is built by villagers living in an island (in the background of the pic) to connect themselves to the 'mainland'. During the rainy season, when the river is overflowing, the bridge may get swept away. The villagers will then rebuild it. Cars can go on it.
Horse carriages are a means of commuting to and from the island. Usually, after the haul is discharged, the owner will allow his horse to take a dip in the river with him.
Members of the team with village elders including one who brought his wife. You'd be surprised that for some of them, this was their first visit to Kampong Cham, even though it's only about an hour and a half away by car from Ota Sign Village. The one on whose shoulder I placed my arm is Udom, the administrator of the church hostels. Weekends, he studies at a university in Kampong Cham.
A loaded horse carriage on its way to town.
A street in Kampong Cham. It's clean and tidy compared to the roads and streets in Phnom Penh.
An itinerant street vendor of fresh lotus seeds which is a favourite among Cambodians. For them, it's a rich source of minerals like proteins and magnesium.
The Central Market which is not as big as the one in Phnom Penh.
This sweet lady sells desserts like sea coconut, jelly and chendol (Cambodian version) in the market. When I started conversing with her in Mandarin, her husband, who was nearby, popped out and said his father was from Guangdong. We subsequently conversed in Cantonese and Teochew (her dialect) and very soon, all the stallholders nearby craned their necks to see the Chinese conversing in Mandarin and Chinese dialects. I felt it was a priceless moment for all of us.
Udom, Deborah and William posing with the Teochew lady.
A pork-seller. I think she is quite rich.
This stall holder didn't like to be photographed. Her loss?
On our way back from Kampong Cham, we stopped at this vantage point for a view of the Great Mekong River which flows through all the countries of the former Indo-China.

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