Kampong Phluk village sits on the banks of Tonlé Sap Lake, the largest freshwater body in Southeast Asia. Water levels in the lake vary enormously between the dry season from roughly November to March and the rainy monsoon season from May to October. The Tonlé Sap River connects the lake to the Mekong River and water flows back and forth between the lake and the Mekong in a complex relationship determined by annual rains. The village is set on stilts to keep houses and other structures above the water line during the rainy flood season. I visited in late March when water levels are at their lowest. The woman on the stairs is bouncing back and forth – literally – between different levels of her house, apparently gathering the things needed to make lunch.
Almost everywhere I go in Denver I encounter beautiful urban landscapes with family homes at the center. Houses of the sort pictured here and the neighborhoods in which they exist in the US are simply not to be found in Chinese cities. Chinese urban landscapes are radically different visually.
For most Americans, I suspect photos of houses are hardly remarkable and not very exciting. But I am still seeing my new surroundings through the lens of China. Though my eye will probably become jaded in another few weeks, today I continue to find Denver’s urban landscapes fascinating.