Anyway, I'm getting ahead of myself. The journey from Phnom Penh to Siem Riep, the town that serves as a base from which to explore the Angkor temples, is a little bit epic. (Bright side is, it keeps the tourist numbers down). We took the "fast boat" upriver --it's $25 dollars for a 5 hour boat ride, which seems really expensive compared to most travel in Southeast Asia. Prices for travelling in Cambodia are inflated by the fact that you have to pay at so many "tollbooths": essentially you stop and give 3 cartons of cigarettes to a guy with a gun. (Bribes seem to me to function pretty much similarly to taxes in these countries where there is no income or sales tax.)
Anyway the fast boat is a pleasant trip; we hung out on the roof, taking in the beautiful river scenery. I do not recommend the medium boat, which we took for the return trip, and whatever you do, don't take the slow boat.In the slow boat you need to stay inside because people onshore take pot shots at you with rifles. Cambodia is dangerous, the only dangerous country in Southeast Asia that we went to. (Mom, if you're reading this, don't worry I'm safe now). The other Southeast Asian countries I went to felt very safe. I think still your odds are better in that part of Cambodia than in LA, say.
So this river we took to Siem Riep is the major artery in Cambodia, and it flows right through this massive lake, the Tonle Sap. The cool thing is that the river changes direction with the seasons and flows the other way! I was wide-eyed with wonder when we arrived at the floating fishing village, feeling this sense of peace and timelessness that I had been looking for in Asia. You could hear the stillness. It was clear and beautiful (if stinky). Peoples' homes and gardens were floating; its a trip to think that some of those kids had never set foot on dry land! We got piled into a small skiff for a long ride up the brackish canals.