Temporary rice fields
For years, passing the big advertisig billboard enticing visitors to come to Cambodia (admittedly, a little too late if you are already here!?!) I thought it read: "Cambodia, Kingdom of Water"..... One day I had a revelation and my eyes saw what it actually said: "Cambodia, Kingdom of Wonder". Amazing how both are fitting. And amazing what your eyes choose to see!
Siem Reap may be just about one of the flattest places I know, take away the very few hills we have in our vicinity. Despite being challenged in this way, the countryside is picturesque and changes with the seasons - as one would expect. Seasons in Cambodia range from hot and dry, hot and humid and hot and wet - to keep things simple. Sometimes even hotter. Or unbearably hot - I think you get the picture....
Where has all the water gone?
Currently we are entering the rainy season and water in rivers, Tonle Sap lake and other water sources is at the lowest, but afternoon rains are becoming more and more regular. This provides for dramatic afternoon skies and amazing sunsets, dust settles and capuccino coloured land turns into emerald green with new rice crops creating beautiful eye-soothing patch work.
Baray Teuk Thla - or Western Baray in translation - is an ancient water reservoir measuring approximately 8 x 2.1km, and today is a popular weekend hang out spot. Hang out literally, you can laze in hammocks, watch locals splashing in the luke warm waters and sip on a beverage or two.
The water levels rise and fall with the seasons and the difference between dry and wet can be striking.
Ingeniously, with water being low, large parts of the baray are turned into rice fields and crop is harvested just
in time, before the reservoir fills up with water again.
Mid day rest in the shade
Wat Swei Romeat is an active, yet peaceful pagoda on the banks of the baray
with a good vantage point and plenty of photo opportunities. Friendly monks clad in signature bright orange robes go about their daily routines and - for exchange of a few new English words - you can get a glimpse of pagoda life.
In the middle of the ancient baray lies West Mebon - an island temple in poor shape consisting mainly of a single wal; in wet season surrounded entirely by water and accesible only by boat, today - at the very driest - accesible by motorbike and even (dry) foot.
In mid April construction of a four meter high dyke 30 meters beyond the temple boundaries begun. This will enable the four year restoration work to continue during wet and dry seasons, uneffected by the levels of water in the baray.
anna bella betts
Never still, always on the move, looking for the perfect capture... Cambodia is currently my home, presenting endless opportunities....
In this blog you will find no profound wisdom.
Just accounts of daily life, sometimes about photography, often about wine, occasionally about travel adventures and sometimes about nothing at all.