Pottery, countryside and a floating village

Pottery is something which has never excited me. During my life it has completely failed to touch a single emotional fibre in my body. Today was no exception. I think a bad experience at summer camp is to blame.

Which is not to say I had a bad time. I enjoyed seeing the holes the families dug out of the ground to get the dry clay, how the clay is passed through a sort of blending machine, mixed with water, put on a potter's wheel, turned into a round object and put into the oven to come out as a vase. Well, mostly all in my imagination as our timetables (11am start) don't quite overlap with the potter's (12am finish), especially taking into account the hour and a half we spent watching the countryside and local temple before getting there (no wonder, because it is hot, hot, hot).

The area is famous for its pottery. It has small sparkly yellow chips from the clay of "golden mountain". Some of the families are so traditional they don't even use a potter's wheel, they just walk round and round the clay batting it with a small flat stick. Some specialise in pots, others do clay charcoal burners (which everyone uses as a kitchen) and others make piggy banks (mostly elephant banks really).

We can't really buy any pottery as carrying it around for 6 months might be a bit awkward (I prefer metal, plastic, wood or even wicker objects anyways) but there was something else for us: palm sugar. They take juice from the palm trees (from the sap I guess) and either drink that, turn it into a sort of beer, or boil it away to obtain the sugar paste. We tasted some of this paste, loved it, so bought a pot.

Went one of the two local floating villages through the back roads, past the houses on stilts (which give you an idea of how much the river level rises during the rainy season). This village houses both Vietnamese and Cambodian families. We hopped on a small boat and were rowed round the "streets", past houses, shops, and even a school. Lucas decided he would live here when he was older.

Took the long way back again, playing with kids, looking at the rice fields, "chatting" to some women looking after cows (Aisha was a big hit with them) and even driving through a wedding (they take over the whole road) and getting a present of a couple of beers (warm - they drink it with ice) to toast to the health of the newlyweds.

In short, another lovely day just seeing how the people really live out here.

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