One of the many delights/horrors of Cambodia is the street food. You can an assortment of insects and other strange creepy crawlies to snack on. This was one of the selections on the way into Phnom Penh.
There are BBQs everywhere and almost everything looks amazing.
Locals playing chess in the street outside a monastery
Many men in Cambodia will be a monk at least once in their life, obviously spiritual reasons being the main driver, but also as it is a way to get an education without having to pay. With many of the people still coming from small village farms this is invaluable. Monks are treated with the upmost respect and you often see people praying to them in the street.
This was the view from the rooftop of our hotel, the next day we headed to the coast.
It’s pretty hard to write anything meaningful about a place where such awful things happened, but I will ry and write a little, some might want to skip the writing in the post. S-21 was the interrogation centre for the Pol Pot regime where political prisoners and anyone suspected have having an education would be brought and tortured until they confessed and gave names of other people to be questioned. Prior to Pol Pot the buildings were a school and now serve as a grim reminder of the country’s past. People would be judged if they were educated through how worn their hands were, how dark their skin, simple confession from other people and various other means.
These were the ‘VIP’ rooms where the previous governments’ members would be interrogated in various in-human ways with the pictures on the wall on the left showing the state of the room when journalists finally entered the buildings and found the disc
After the prisoners were interrogated they were driven to various killing fields around the country, we then drove to visit one of these. The prisoners would be moved in the night blindfolded to avoid detection and loud political propaganda would be payed through speakers to hide their screams. The prisoners would be marched to mass graves were they would be executed with a blunt objects, for they were not ‘worthy’ of bullets. They were piled in into graves and chemicals poured onto the bodies to hide the smell.
Local people leave bangles here for the spirits of the children who were killed against this tree.
I had never really been presented with death in such a stark way before. These skulls form part of a shrine to remember the people who were slaughtered here, with fresh bones, teeth and clothes still appearing through the ground when it rains heavily. Many of the bodies have still not been exhumed.
Cambodia seems to be a nation that has suffered so terribly yet there is a sense of hope amongst the people and having been put through the cleansing of the educated, so it is now a real priority for the common person now and many children here speak very good English at a very young age.
It has been hard writing this post, and I hope I have remember what our tour guide told me correctly. It was a very sobering experience, and a warning to all what people in power can do.
Sunrise from the rooftop of the hotel we stayed in looking out over the bay.
We all went out into the countryside around Siem Reap to visit a few small villages and the rice fields. Again just a quick post as we are about to leave.