Snakes On Tonlé Sap

Our first stop in Cambodia was at Tonlé Sap, a freshwater lake just outside of Siem Reap. We enjoyed a boat ride along Tonlé Sap while learning about the diverse ecology and history of the area. Our guide took us to a floating tourist trap replete with caged alligators and and an abundance of Cambodian kitch. As we walked around perusing the items on offer, a few long-tail rowboats docked alongside ours. The boats were filled with toothless old women, and joyless children begging for money. One child had a snake around her neck and offered a photo-op in exchange for cash. Our guide told me not to take her up on the offer, as it would only chum the waters. I smiled, took a photo, and handed the girl some $5 USD, only to have her grandma snatch it from my fingers.