A lazy Sunday on the Sangker river. Going from Siem Reap to Battambang in a skinny wooden boat full of tourists, all looking for this special experience. We watched the floating villages passing by, the fishermen retrieve their nets, the kids play in the water, as they watched and waved at us.
A nice experience, even though there are some downsides. Like the wooden benches we had to sit on, the noisy engine, the length of the trip (more than 8 hours), and the fact that we all were promised a bigger more comfortable boat with a toilet and where we could walk around, to mention just a few. But then this also bonds and gives rise to short conversations, jokes and shared experiences.
And then there is the experience of a boat full of tourists, being together for a whole day, confined to a small space. Mainly from Europe. All speaking different languages. All with their own routines and habits.
It varies from a bunch of young guys enjoying their holiday while drinking beer, smoking cigarettes and eating crisps, to a couple non-stop eating, only fruits though, so that must be healthy. Some read, some try to sleep, a lot of pictures are being taken. All looking for a new experience, possibly the fulfillment of an expectation. Some happy and fulfilled, others disappointed, and tired from the long trip.
And what we all have in common is a happy smiley face when we wave and are waved at. It is this brief contact with strangers, from human to human, that makes it special. The kids are especially disarming. It is experiencing common humanity, a brief moment in which we share this feeling of being one and the same, even though our lives differ so much.