TIO SE Asia: Dispatch 3, In Cambodia

TIO SE Asia: Dispatch 3, In Cambodia

Editor’s note: Our trip on the Jayavarman, now in Cambodia, includes lavishly decorated palaces and colorful happenings on the water, right now, the Mekong. But you will have to use your mind’s eye to see it all through our words. Internet constraints make uploading large files impossible. We will backfill images once our connection improves.


In a waterway culture, the culture of the Mekong, you see floating markets, monkey bridges – as far as we can tell, a single log or bamboo shoot. Brides walk across them in high heels and Cinderella ball gowns – houses on stilts and boats, boats of every shape and size, the “legs” of a people who live their life and make their living along and on the serpentine river.

Day #3 on the Jayavarman, our morning excursion got bumped a half-hour earlier to 8 p.m.; our team had to clear customs in Cambodia before the bureaucrats headed out for lunch. The penalty for not arriving before the lunch whistle would have been the loss of several hours.

Here’s a word to the wise: avoid visiting a fish farm right after breakfast. The farm in the remote border town of Tan Chau where the owners raise tilapia and a high-falutin’ species of catfish known as basa, is redolent of its finned and frenzied (when they are fed) denizens. In other words, aquaculture stinks. (Bring your own clothespin.)

A second sampan ride took us to a local market. Almost. Off the boat, we boarded vehicles known as trishaws, basically a bike with a buggy in back, to transport passengers – who are almost always exclusively locals, hardly ever tourists. Among the group traveling with us are a few substantial individuals. For them, it was less comfortable, far bumpier, than a seat in economy class during a storm.

The trishaw ride wound up at a local market, open seven days a week, where locals buy everything from clothes and jewelry to live chickens (slaughtered on the spot before your eyes) for dinner.

Then it was back to the boat for a day of leisure.

Leisure included more food and drink than we needed, plus a cooking class, where Chef Andy and his kitchen team taught us to make a Cambodian dish, chicken amok in coconut milk, and deep-fried Vietnamese spring rolls. (Yes I have the recipes.)

The sunset was gorgeous enough, but night was all about the moon, which we watched from one of the decks on our cruiser.

The Supermoon on November 14, 2016 was the closest a Full Moon has been to Earth since January 26, 1948. The next time a Full Moon is even closer to Earth will be on November 25, 2034.

One more very special day.

And now we are in Cambodia.

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