Cambodia - Frogs on a Stick and Crocodiles

The buildings across the street from our "penthouse".

In Siem Reap, I saw a hostel advertising its "penthouse".

Complete with private swimming pool.
Private roof terrace.

After 2 months' of traveling, this sounded pretty good.
 I jumped at it. 

The price: $28. a night.

Everything our "penthouse" claimed was certainly true.
But - it was still pretty rough. 
Not exactly 5 star!

Oh well. 
The view was fun.

Fish is king in Cambodia.
It all comes from the Mekong. 
And - when the river floods, it fertilizes the fields of rice.

Handy system - rice and fish. 
It keeps Cambodia alive.

Well - except for the occasional "frog on a stick" snack.

Okay, and maybe toasted snakes and scorpions on sticks? 
(And yes, those ARE tarantulas, too.)

But - most of the time, it's fish.

Fish and crab market in Kep.

And - always - plenty of rice.

Back to the Mekong:
Everyone is curious about us.

Kids think we're very funny, especially Stan. 
And he encourages it, by making funny faces and joking around.

It's been a tough year on the Mekong, with drought. 
And now, China is building dams upstream. 

The river is low. 
Water hyacinths clog it.

Kids wait to push boats that get stuck in the  mud - ours included - for a small tip.

It's slow going.

Buying snacks in a floating shop.

Here's what our "parking" space looks like - everyone coming to market.

A lot of homes are in and on the water.

The whole family, and family business. Working together. 

Then - a mystery: 
We kept seeing these wooden pens.

Usually right up against the houses.

All different sizes.

Sometimes they'd SHAKE violently! 

What in the world - ?

Turns out, they raise CROCODILES in those cages.

Right up by the houses. 
Right where they wash their clothes and where the kids swim.

They grow them.
Then sell them to the Chinese.

I'm sure a croc or two escapes now and again.
I can't even THINK about it!


And of course, all the young Cambodians want to move away from the river life. 

To the big city.
And get a motorcycle.

They can buy new ones from China for about $300.
With financing.

We always seemed to wind up in Siem Reap again.

Mekong sunset. 
Probably not particularly romantic for those fishermen. 

They do this every day.

But - for us - it looks pretty incredible.

Here are some of the drawings and paintings I made along the way.