Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Great Lake of Cambodia- Happy Lunar New Year!!

The Tonlé Sap also known as the Great Lake of Cambodia is a combined lake and river system of major importance to Cambodia.The Tonlé Sap is the largest fresh water lake in South East Asia and is an ecological hot spot that was designated as a UNESCO biosphere in 1997.The Tonlé Sap is unusual for two reasons: its flow changes direction twice a year, and the portion that forms the lake expands and shrinks dramatically with the seasons. From November to May, Cambodia's dry season, the Tonlé Sap drains into the Mekong River at Phnom Penh. However, when the year's heavy rains begin in June, the Tonlé Sap backs up to form an enormous lake.There are many villages of boat houses on the lake. Many fisherman and their families live there. Some live in basic conditions: some have flat screen TV's bigger than mine! There are floating schools, churches, telephone towers, generators. The communities are generally basic and fresh drinking water is a luxury for a few of the villages. Now in the dry season the sediment in the water makes it very brown but we saw many children swimming, even though there were signs saying not to swim. Today was the Lunar New Year and many homes were decorated and had people celebrating with family parties. Happy Lunar New Year to you!!

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