Horrific past, promising future.

Trip Start Sep 30, 2005
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34
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Trip End Sep 01, 2006


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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Sunday, January 15, 2006

After another hot and sweaty 8 hour bus journey we made it to the massive city of Phnom Penh. We are travelling with a couple of people from the bus crossing into Cambodia, nothing like hours cramped together to become friends! After a bit more time here Cambodia is starting to become a separate place in our minds and we are not just identifying the similarities to India and Thailand. It is much more developed than I was expecting especially here in Phnom Penh with massive roads, buildings and electronic shops everywhere. There are still shanty town near the river and people with very little but still not like the poverty in India.

On the second day Danny, Parv (crazy American artist from the bus) and I went to the National Museum full of many Buddhas and relics, unfortunately some of the information was a little sparse. One card that stood out for me said the item was 'box' and written for the design, particular use, origin and age there was written only 'unknown'! There was however this amazing 8ft gold funeral urn for the King's ashes on display and all I could think was how big was this guy?! On the way back Parv tells us she has bought this lion statue of Angkor Wat design to take back to America. Great we thought until we saw it, it's huge! It's dog sized and made of stone so it weighs a tone! She is still working out how to get it back to the States now!

We also went to the Tuol Sleng Museum which used to be a school until Pol Pot's security forces turned it into a prison for interrogation, torture and execution known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). At one point S-21 was killing an average of 100 people per day. The museum was very difficult to see, especially the beds of the last 14 people killed there which remain in the cells with pictures of how they were found above.
Almost everyone held at S-21 was taken to Choeung Ek (Killing Fields) to be executed, which is where we went the next day. Of roughyl 20 000 people that went to the prison, only 7 survived. Here it felt like we were just stumbling into this place soon after and not a memorial site at all. There are clothes and bones lying everywhere. Strangely next to the field is a primary school so there are lots of kids running around showing us their wrestling moves and asking for money, instead Parv gave them stickers and we all taught them how to race each other on their hands while someone holds their legs. This was hilarious and relief and was such a contrast to the fields.

At both the sites we couldn't decide if it was appropriate to take pictures or not and to then put them on here. Was it glorification or in-sensitive or is it worse to ignore it in the hope it goes away? In the end we did take some pictures and they are on here if you want to look. if anyone wants more info, maybe this site is he one:- www.dccam.org.

On a brighter note we are fine and enjoying the Cambodian experience and slowly picking up some of the language basics. We are going to spend a another day around Phnom Penh before heading South, just can't get enough of these roads!
Take care everyone and hope you haven't broken all your NY resolutions already! :)

Lots of love to peter and janet, our thoughts are with you.
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Comments

mills01480
mills01480 on

Hi from grey England
Dan & Kate
Was moved by this update and thought you handled it sensitively.
Have you remembered it is Dads birthday on the 18th he will be 50!!!!!!!!!!Send him a picture on Travelpod.
Lee has got a computer and has asked for your e-mail so will be soon talking to you both.
We have let the house in Aruba for a month or so, great it will be covering costs for the moment. Did you get pictures? I have a great one for you Kate of a huge iguana, not sure if Colin put it on.
Nanny Mills is on new medication and is much happier and calmer.

Thinking of you both, lots of love Mumxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

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