We cruise up the Mekong to the little village of Kampong Trolach. The river is wide and swift. There are eleborate floating systems in place to net fish all along the river. Mrs. Phred wishes you to know that she took most of these pictures....
Both Muslim mosques and Buddhist temples appear on the river banks.
The top deck has a bar. Drinks are free unless you want something imported. I've been drinking Harpoon gin with tonic water.
Away from the big city, the river supports people who live by farming and fishing. The population fell from 8 million to about 5.5 million under Pol Pot. It has since increased to 14 million. What you notice most is the absense of older people.
Life expectancy for Cambodian men has increased from 45 to 59 in the last 30 years. Women last about five years more on average.
These farmers use small gasoline powered pumps to draw water from the river for irrigation and other purposes.
When we arrive in Kampong Trolach, about 30 oxcarts are waiting to transport us several miles to an old monastary in the jungle.
I ride with Ray, a veteran of WWII, Korea and Vietnam. He has a bad back and age age related problems, but he hangs in there for the bumpy ride. The wooden wheels and lack of shock absorbers induce him to buy a ride on a scooter for the return trip.
It's dawn here. The sun is just coming up on tomorrow already as rush hour and quiting time are happening half a world from here.
After the oxcart ride we return to the boat and cruise back to Phnom Pehn. I send Mrs. Phred out to get cash, and she did, but she spent it all at the Russian market for jewelry. One lady had here purse snatched while riding in a tuk-tuk. We were warned to keep a grip on things.
This little girl walked by my cart all the way back to the boat. I think she wanted to practice her English (which was good). We sang the "If you're happy, clap your hands" song. She pointed out her home, grandfather, mother and baby brother as we passed through her village.