SARAY COLLECTIVE, CAMBODIA

Our destination was a women’s collective that dries water hyacinths and weaves them into mats and other products. You can read more about the Saray collective here and how their efforts are employing 30 local women.

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We had lunch at their local restaurant and spent time with the women, learning to weave. They are very fast.

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What I did not know is that the water hyacinth is highly invasive and quite a problem … once I learned that I started to look around and notice, it was everywhere.

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After lunch and the weaving we headed out on canoes to visit around the village. Our first stop was where they process the fish. It was amazing to see – they all worked in a cadence, the pounding of knives as they cut the fish.

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The fish on the way for processing.

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As we pulled into the next stop this little fellow was happy. As soon as he saw the nurses waiting to give him his vaccine (an ambush), his demeanor changed considerably. It took a few of the women to get him to the nurses.

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After a few more stops around the village we jumped back in the boat and headed home, with one last visit. Our boat captain stopped off at a home (family, friends or a business partner) to pick up a few 5 gallon drums of processed fish. We were greeted by the family dog (what is it like to be a dog who lives in a floating house?)

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They processed the fish so fast. 3 knife strokes per fish.

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Fish loaded, we pulled away – the day complete.

A very different, insightful and educational experience. If you are in Siem Reap, highly recommended. Thanks for dropping by.

FLOATING VILLAGES OF TONLE SAP LAKE, CAMBODIA

As mentioned in the previous post, the boat picked up speed and we headed to the next village. One of the first boats we saw as we entered the main village was this floating restaurant, looking for customers.

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The lake will rise and fall 9-10M in a year and the people will float from location to location, following the water. It is a bit unfathomable to live your entire life .. floating.

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Moored into the trees or to each other, the homes at mid/high-tide. At low tide, those trees will be 20m high.

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The village delivery system … gas, fruit, you name it.

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Everyone drives a boat. No matter how old.

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Some boats with motors.

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Many boats with only a paddle.

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Of course, there is a phone store.

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A completely different way of life. Thanks for dropping by.

THE TRIP TO A FLOATING VILLAGE, CAMBODIA

Our second day in Siem Reap involved a tour with Osmose eco-tours to a floating village. I love doing eco-tours, and this one is about seeing how the lake feeds an ecosystem of plants, animals and people.

The trip began on a boat like this.

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Our captain.

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The village where we launched was filled with motorbikes, loaded with fish from the mornings catch.

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Bagged for transportation. The fish were so small – not sure how they skin them or are they eaten whole?

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The boat had a very loud engine .. that made big waves.

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As we took the 90 minute ride to the village, we saw many other boaters traveling the lake-ways.

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Off in the distance, a fisherman setting his nets (the pictures are darker as I had the wrong filter with me – it was that bright out)

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And a few eco-companions on the way.

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We stopped near a large tree where the guide explained that the tree was 15-17m high with almost 10m of the tree currently under water. The water levels on the lake go up and down by 10m during the seasons. In the tree, we noticed a brightly colored snake having a sleep .. red means poisonous.

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He never did peak his head out.

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Traveling along the water the boat slowed as we entered the first of many floating villages.

Amazing to think that these homes move around with the water level .. and that they all have cell phone reception.

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The village’s floating school.

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Beside a few floating homes.

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With the fishermen/women working on the day’s catch.

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The boat picked up speed as we headed to the next village.

PELELIU, A TRIP TO A HORRIFIC PAST (Part 1)

One of the targets for the Palau trip was a tour of Peleliu. I have read a lot of World War II history, more documentaries than I can count and throughout my life have been fascinated with WWII. I also enjoy touring the more remote historical locations, where the antiseptic aura of the well kept museum is not present.

Peleliu is one of those place. We booked a boat tour with Sam’s Tours and headed out early in the morning. I was hopeful, the weather looked good.

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It was an hour ride with a single rough spot where rain threatened, but as we approached the island, the sky was clear. As we scooted along I noticed a large object on the reef. I didn’t have time to swap to my 70-200mm and we did not have time to swing out there, so here is the poor shot of a Japanese concrete “ship” resting on the reef. The Japanese built it with the hopes of drawing American ships close to the reef. To me it seems like one of those ideas where a bunch of officers are sitting around brainstorming .. one of those “no idea is too stupid” type of sessions. Only in this case, they obviously missed the joke.

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Our engines started to sputter, and the captain stopped to have a look which gave me a calm moment to take this shot. Two observations from our guide:

The reason why the Japanese picked Peleliu is because it is the only flat island in the area.

If you look carefully you can see a few floating bottles … floating from Indonesia was the explanation (with a trace of animosity clearly present)

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A closer shot. The Americans thought the island looked flat too (they were wrong).

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As we approached the dock, we passed fisherman wading near the reef.

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This is a small island with roughly 500 locals. The kind of place where everyone knows everyone.

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We disembarked, ready to learn the island’s dark history.

RAP MUSIC IN YOYOGI PARK, JAPAN

Japan has reaffirmed my opinion, rap music is not to my taste regardless of language.

Config: Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 70-200mm f/2.8.

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I enjoyed their enthusiasm and had a good chuckle at their creative intermingling of the f-word into the Japanese lyrics .. but the music hurt my ears. I stayed for a single Asahi super-dry under a nice Red Bull umbrella (thanks Red Bull, it was 42C)

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Keep on rocking in the free world, young Japanese …