People use a variety of methods to catch fish. The most pleasant is to tie up your boat in the shadow of a tree and use a simple handline while dozing the day away. More economical is a cross net, which comes in sizes from a square meter to that of a living room. Your labor is made easier with various fish traps and stick nets, leaving you more time to either do absolutely nothing or maybe weave some basket or cut "ancient" bows and arrows to sell to tourists.
Everyone looks quite happy among these riches of fish and the only aspiration is to own a bicycle. Once you have one, you can ride around proudly showing off. The stateliness of the display gets lost when suddenly, behind a group of teenagers spread across the entire road, a jeep appears and honks. A panic ensues, everyone falls off the bike and drags it head over heels to the verge of the road.
To my surprise, quite suddenly I came across a lonely stone mountain in the middle of this flat country. There was a quarry and a long set of stairs up to the top, so I parked my jeep and climbed up, where I noticed that I could have followed a trail circling up. A dozen priests lived here in a rather modern temple situated precariously over a steep slope.
|They enjoyed a unique view over muddy rice fields and labyrinths of ditches winding through low bushes and reeds. Still higher up, stood three prasats in line, ruins of ancient Khmer towers.|
On the same plateau stood a more recent ruin: a delapidated hotel with long verandahs where monkeys balanced on the balustrades and rails. They were rather shy and ran away when I got closer: certainly strange guests for a hotel!
No one was in sight and I started to wonder which of the two ruins was the most mysterious. I stayed in the tower for about an hour writing my journal, and saw the monkeys slowly getting back. From far down I heard the cow bells, but that was the only sound, everything else was tranquil. In the clouds a few fish eagles circled around. At dusk, the bats woke up and started a shrill concert. Two men came up and were astonished to find me. They looked like bandits, but even if they had demanded my life or my money, I would not have understood them. I walked down with them.