Angkor Wat complex and area around it near Siem Reap have so much more to offer than temples only.
The surrounding agricultural area around Angkor Wat is almost unspoilt for agriculture and mainly used for rice growing.
“From a distance, sitting in my tuk tuk, I saw the arched backs and steadfast movements of two women hard at work in the rice field.
An almost never mentioned part of Cambodia is the unique silence, once in the countryside. The warmth and the silence…if you can find it.
Phnom Penh and Siem Reap are busy cities where there is always noise pollution. That is why absolute silence is so unique. Peace and absolute silence can still be found along the banks of the Mekong River and in some places in the Cardamom jungle.”
This time I was in Siem Reap province and asked our tuk tuk to stop in the late afternoon to get away from the temples and focus on the reality of the rice harvest.
I then walk along a narrow path, as if in a silent dream, through a bright green rice field with ripened rice on both sides waving in the sun.
When I arrive at the hardworking women, I have brief and friendly eye contact and silently indicate with a gesture that I would like to take some photos of the essential ritual of the rice harvest.
Silently, she kindly agrees and continues with her work. She is dressed from head to toe with different layers, krama (cambodian scarf) cloths and a large cap to protect against the sun.
The tropical air is broken by a soft rustling of the rice and the sound of the razor-sharp sickle flying smoothly through the stems.
With an authentic Khmer rice sickle, this woman deftly cuts the rice stalks in a fluid movement and tightens her booty with an experienced movement.
I take a short series of photos and walk quietly and intensely satisfied back to my waiting tuk tuk carriage.
It can be that simple to capture a short visual story about an important part of the essential life in Cambodia.