Cambodia = Kampuchean

Cambodia = Kampuchean

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Water Festival Shenanigans: A Day Trip

Cambodia - the "Kingdom of Wonder" - loves its Water Festival. What other reason could there be for the good and long four-day weekend and the arrival of the masses witnessed by the city of Phnom Penh? Seriously. Millions upon millions of people come flocking over to Phnom Penh to partake in the festivities that constitute the annual "Water Festival".

Here's what makes this festival something to cheer about:
There are two characters in this short story - the Tonle Sap and the Mekong  (tonle pronounced tone-lay means "river"). The two ribbons snake their way southbound and meet in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. After heavy showers a la the monsoon season, Mekong - the mightier, more aggressive and rather well traveled one - gathers up speed and force as it makes its way to the South China Sea (via Vietnam). And since "something's always gotta give," the result is a rather unique phenomenon wherein there is a reversal of Tonle Sap's flow to a northbound course. Rare and quite neat, yes? Well, it appears the historic peoples of Cambodia felt the same way, and thus was born the Water Festival.

 There are stalls and stalls of food and drinks and promotional marketing. There was the feeling of being at the Fair. I think I may have seen a Ferris Wheel out in the horizon.

This is also a time when people enjoy the water games and boat races.

Pedro, Leonard and I headed to Phnom Penh on an 8am bus, arriving at 11am. While Pedro went about his own uncharted plans, Lenny and I took to a nice long walk towards the river and then hung out at a restaurant which was perfectly located for aviewing of the semi-finals of the boat races.

An unfortunate incident involving a sinking boat along the bank of the river! I have to admit, it was a bit comical.  Also, this was a team that had just finished a race, so no real harm done. :)

Lenny and I on a motor (pronouned mo-toe) on our way back to Central Market.

That is where the Sorya Buses leave for various destinations. Mine? Kampong Cham, of course. Usually the ticket costs Riel 15,000 ($3.75) one-way, but during the Water Festical everything is hiked. So I paid a solid Riel 20,000 ($5) for the bus ride.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you got out of there just in time Cookie! Apparently there was a stampede there....just a few minutes ago!