|(SOME OF THESE PICTURES AND TEXT ARE A BIT DISTURBING)
We spent a few days in Phnom Penh.
On our first day we got some of the boys in the guest house to take us on their scooters out on a tour to see the killling fields, S-21 museum and Russion Market.
It was quite a trek out to the killing fields about 15km in total, most of the way on un-paved roads. It is a very somber place and also shocking at the same time, where 20,000 Cambodians were killed/ murdered by the Khmer Rouge (lead by Pol Pot) from 1975-1979 including women and children, primarily because they were eductaed and posed a threat to the new regime.
We hired a guide for $2's each and he was very good at explainging the history of the place and what had gone on there. As you can see in the photos there is still a lot of evidence of what took place here, there was lots of clothes in the ground and everywhere we walked there was bones in the ground (every year more is uncovered as the rains come). So far only 11,000 of the 20,000 have been exumed, all of the skulls of these people have been placed in the Stupa (temple) as a sign of respect and so that they can be remembered. The actual area where a lot of the graves still exist is very beautiful, and it is hard to believe what lies beneath it.
S-21 was a fromer school that was convereted by the Khmer Rouge into a prison in which most of the people who were killed at the killing Fields were held for a period of time. As you can imagine the conditions here were terrible and torture was extremely common. We hired another guide here who gave some history behind what happened at the prison and also some of the photos that were on display of the people who were held here. She also spoke about some of the family that she had lost during this time, that was very shocking for us.
After our guides tour, we had a look around the museum by ourselves and then went to watch a 1 hour movie about 1 persons life during the khmer rouge time in power. It was a very moving and powerful movie.
The place is called the Russian Market, not because that was its name, but it was apparently where all the Russians used to shop and the name has now stuck. It was same as most of the town markets with a bit of everything in it for locals and tourists a like. The difference with this one is it must have been the first place that Dawn and I have not bought anything, we must be reaching saturation.
In the evening we played pool and drank some beers with the rest of the people staying at the guest house. One of the guys also came round with a plate of fried silk worms, Dawn and I had a go, but i nearly heaved. I made the mistake of actually chewing it rather than just swallowing it. just managed to keep it down, but felt dodgy for quite a while. Needed another beer or 2 to settle me down.
Rest of the time
We did intent to get round and see a bit more of Phnom Penh, but due to the previous nights drinking we got up a bit late, then after some time looking around the lake side area we went to head of to look at the central market and some temples and the Royal Palace, after a few minutes walking we were saturated as it was so humid. Then looking at the sky noticed that it was getting dark all of a sudden and decided to head back. Man, was this a good decision, because no sooner had we got back the heavens opened and it hammered it down and whiped up a real wind for the rest of the afternoon, so resorted to playing pool at chatting again.
We also decided that we would head down to Sihanouksville and see the beach the following day, and booked our ticket at the guest house.