Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Day 15 - River Cruise Day 4 – Kampong Chhnang and Wat Kapong then Tralach Pleu

This morning we visited the Kampong Chhnang a busy rural port town on the Tonle Sap River. This province is located close the geographical middle of Cambodia and borders Kampong Thom along with the Tonle Sap Lake on the north, Kampong Speu to the south, Kampong Cham along with Kandal on the east and Pursat on the west. This province is rich in alluvial soil and has lots of fisheries and rice plantations. The borderline on the southwest is on the hillside of one of the highest mountains of Cambodia, Phnom Aoral, which has an altitude of 1,813m.

This is a local ferry and the little box at the back of the boat is the happy room. The waters here are used for disposal of waste, washing, drinking, farming all is done from the same waters.

Here is home in the floating village is being moved to a new location, the photo below shows the boat pulling the home along, gives a new way of solving problems is you don't get on with your neighbours. It costs approximately $700 US dollars to have a floating house in a location like our taxes.

Fish is the main diet for the locals and in the dry season they are not able to catch the fish, so it is dried when fish is plentiful on the roofs or like shown below handing over the water. They eat is dried, smoked, or as fish paste.

Here is a lady selling her dried fish.

A local delicacy is the duck egg which is incubated in a cane type mulch until it is almost ready to hatch when it is then ready for sale to the locals. Here a little boy is eating the unhatched duckling.

The local blacksmiths.

When we go on our excursions we are broken up into three groups here is the other group going on their floating village tour.

Our home for the week on the Mekong the La Marguerite.

The left overs of the rice crop are used for hay to feed the families cow which is used for transport and farming requirements, this one is built us high above the flood zone. The river rises and falls between 10 - 20cm per day during the changes of seasons, and is I think the only river which runs both upstream and downstream depending of the season.

Oxen cart is the most popular transportation in the countryside of Cambodia. The Cambodian farmers use the oxen cart to harvest crops, carry hay, animals and even carry the family members. Due to the arrangement with the tour companies the village of Kampong Tralach maintain their oxen carts in the traditional way with wooden wheels etc. In Cambodia the farmers now modernise their carts with rubber wheels etc. Here is went for a 20 minute ride in the oxen cart which was quite a sight with about 50 carts all travelling along the road in convoy.

Kampong Tralach is a district in the south of Kampong Chhnang Province in central Cambodia.

Oudong is situated on the hilly ridge of Preah Reach Throap, it became the capital of Cambodia in 1618 after one of Phnom Penh's many periods of abandonment, and remained the royal stronghold until King Norodom re-established the capiral of Phnom Penh in 1865. It once boasted hundreds of buildings, temples and royal stupas, but most of these were destroyed in the early 1970's when Lon Nol ordered air strikes against Khmer Rouge fighters based here. A few monasteries have survived, along with the funerary stupas of some of the last Kings.

Here also stands a magnificent Buddhist Centre (Vipassana Dhura Buddhist Meditation Centre). This is the largeest Buddhist Centre in Cambodia and is dedicated to bring peace and harmony through mediation. This mission of the Centre is to establish a school of Vipassana (Insight Meditaiton) to instruct and guide all Cambodian Buddhists to do good, avoid all evils and cleanse their mind according to the way of Lord Buddha in order to have patience and calmness for themselves individually.

Here is the beautiful Mother Earth Goddess who brought up the waters from squeezing her hair which allowed the crocodiles, giant fish and giants sting rays to surround Buddha and destroy the demons.

We were very fortunate that today is Buddha birthday and we were able to take part in a Buddhist Blessing from the monks at the monastary.

Here is the Buddhist Flag which has five colours blue, red, white, yellow and orange.

The six vertical bands of the flag represent the six colours of the aura which Buddhists believe emanated from the body of the Buddha when he attained Enlightenment:

Blue (Nīla): Loving kindness, peace and universal compassion
Yellow (Pīta): The Middle Path – avoiding extremes, emptiness
Red (Lohita): The blessings of practice – achievement, wisdom, virtue, fortune and dignity
White (Odāta): The purity of Dharma – leading to liberation, outside of time or space
Orange (Manjesta): The Buddha's teachings – wisdom

The sixth vertical band, on the fly, is made up of a combination of rectangular bands of the five other colours, and represents a compound of the other five colours in the aura's spectrum. This compound colour is referred to as Pabbhassara ('essence of light').

A Bodhi tree, the type of tree under which Buddha received enlightenment.

Here a local ceramic craftsman is taking his wares to Phnom Penh for sale by oxen cart.

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