. There wasn't much conversation going on between us as we made our way through the site. It was an unforgettable experience being in the place this happened less than 30 years ago. Then it was off to Toul Sleng, also know as S-21. This was the detention center where people were held and tortured before being taken off to the killing fields. More than 14,000 people passed through here of which only seven lived. All lived bound to an iron bar with a shackle around their ankle. 20 people to an iron bar 6 meters long, 50-60 a room. Others had their own cell which measured 3ft by 6ft, also chained to the floor. They were beaten, fingernails ripped out, drowned, and electric shocked. Women had their babies taken from them and killed in front of them before they themselves were raped. One of the seven survivors is a painter and his depictions of daily live adorn one of the buildings walls. Another building is left intact with the barbed wire across the windows and the small brick cells still in place. Again, not much conversation took place, there or on the ride to the guest house. These are the strongest symbols of what took place in Cambodia in the mid to late 70's. These tragic places aside, Cambodia has exerted a quiet charm upon Amy and I which has grown into a certain fondness already for this country. So, after a quiet night out we packed for our bus ride in the morning.
The bus left on time at 8:30 am from downtown PP
. We got a ride there from our guest house in their mini van. The minivan was interesting because it didnt have any glass in it except for the windshield which was badly cracked. Anyway we had good seats on the bus and experienced the best road we have come across in Cambodia. Four hours later we are in Shianoukville, in the south of the country on the coast. Named after the king of Cambodia, Norodom Shianouk. As we pulled into town we passed a gas station and I saw the motorcycle drivers waiting for the bus to come. The bus went by and the race was on! The moto drivers franticly jockying for position to be by the bus as it pulled into the station. Once we got off one came up to us and wouldn't leave our side. I told Amy that I think this was our driver. He was. Since we didn't have a place I told him what beach we wanted and he took us to a place. We inspected and it seemed ok so we booked. A bungalow like we had in Ko Chang but bigger this time. Still can see the water from our patio. We thought $8 a day was ok until we found places on the beach for free. Yes that is right rooms for free. I checked one out and it was a matress on the floor with mosquito netting and a fan. About 50 sq ft total and a cieling about 4.5 feet high. I would have stayed there but I dont think Amy would have. So I think we will be able to afford $8 a night. Seems ok here, walked the length of the beach and back about 4 miles total and then went out to dinner. Should be here about 4 nights then off to another coastal town, dont really know yet. Need a break from the madness and sadness of Phnom Penh. Have some snaps here, they aren't pretty but they are real.
A n D
Yesterday (2-1) we traveled to the killing fields of Choung Ek 15km outside the city limits of Phnom Penh. Arrived at a nondescript field now surrounded by farmland and simple houses. On this site is one of the places that Pol Pot and the Khemer Rouge used to kill and bury suspected enemies of their regime. We entered and got a guide to show us around, so we could have some local information. First stop was the tower they had errected to house all of the skulls and many of the bones recovered from the 129 mass graves discovered there. Only 86 of the 129 graves have been disinterred. Almost 9000 skulls arranged by sex and age are on display. We walked around the now open pits while our guide related to us the most harrowing of stories. There was still, in many places, clothes and bones coming out of the ground. It was impossible to make your way around without stepping on one or the other on almost every foot step. There are also suspected to be 10,000 more buried in the 43 unopened graves