Monday 19 September - Siem ReapThis morning's temple, Ta Prohm, certainly has not been maintained and protected over its 800-year history.Huge trees grow on and through various parts of it and much of it has fallen. Some work is in progress to stabilize and restore parts of it, but the entwining roots add to its interest. It is huge and we wandered through it for about an hour. At the site of one of the most dramatic moments in "Tomb Raider" there was a long lineup for photos. We thought perhaps we should watch that movie some time, now that we'll recognize the setting. There's even a nearby carving of a women with puffy lips like Angelina Jolie.
We began the afternoon excursion with a visit to a lotus farm. Such beautiful plants! So much garbage floating between them! We sampled the seeds (reminiscent of fresh raw peas, quite good) and found out a bit about how they grow. There are small pavilions scattered around for people to picnic.
Then we boarded a small boat to visit a floating village on the Great Lake. This is really boats on which people live and work, moored along the edge of the lake. There are stores, schools, churches, karaoke bars, barbers -- everything a normal village would have. Apparently many of the residents are poverty-stricken immigrants from Viet Nam, who put together one of these boats or rafts, then live tax- and rent-free. They grow a few vegetables and fish a lot, but the lake is nearly fished out. We visited a store where they also farm catfish and have a few crocodiles. Back to the hotel for a bit of freshening up, then out for our last dinner in Cambodia. It included a show of 5 traditional dances. I don't think they'll ever catch on in the clubs, but it was very interesting to watch them and read the stories they represented. And what beautiful costumes! The meal was good too. Dy gave each of us a thank-you gift -- a nice scarf in a woven case, and we gave him maple syrup along with his gratuity. He and our driver have been great!