Life Along the Mekong River


School kids taking a break at Pour Ro'ang Leu Pagoda

School kids taking a break at Pour Ro’ang Leu Pagoda

The Mekong River runs thousands of miles through China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Along the river people tend to their daily activities as the water makes its way from country to country. Every once in a while I get a small glimpse into some lives that differ from mine. They are lives that couldn’t be more different than mine, present or past.

Cambodia has six bridges that cross the Mekong River with the majority being near Phnom Penh. Between those bridges thousands of people work the fields, attend school, manage their livestock and pray at pagodas. To a newcomer their life can seem simple or chaotic depending on the time of day but there is a method to the madness that keeps everything in check.

I spent the night in Kampong Cham with the intention of heading north along the river to find a couple temples about twenty kilometers away. As usual I had no idea what I was going to find along the road since this was new territory for me. I figured it would take me about forty-five minutes each way. I had to check out of my hotel by noon so this gave me plenty of time.

Of course I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This stretch of road indicative of why why I like to explore. At every corner was something I wanted to see. If I wasn’t on a tight schedule I would have spent all day stopping, exploring and photographing.

As usual all of the people were welcoming and interested in listening to my every word – even though they understood only ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’. Take a look at the images and see if you can get a sense of life along the Mekong River. Click on the images to see the whole picture.

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