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THE world trip his journal is to let all those i know and care about (hello!) get a little bit more info about what im doing, and where. Also, its a gesture to calm my poor mums nerves whilst her first born child explores the big wide world. Hopefully it wont back fire

Cambodia; another show of the gruesome 21st century

THAILAND | Saturday, 14 July 2007 | Views [581]

This is just a short one, as i dont want people to think that i have become obssessed with internet entrys!

As planned, we dashed out of Vietnam ( Saignon was actually, to give it its due, pretty nice)and into Cambodia. No problems what so ever in crossing the border; in fact, some cynics might say that the Cambodian border control lacks tight enough security, given that for a few extra dollars we didnt even have to produce two photos to gain our visa- but i say, embrace it, the system works! And so began for me, 5 of the most interesting and enjoyable consecutive days i have had. First stop was the capital, Phneom phen ( its a toughie to spell, but i think thats about right!) where we stayed in the 'Floating Island' guest house of charmingly rickety proportions, on stilts overlooking the central lake of the city. The area was superlaid back, with lots of wicked bars and restaurants on the tiny alley ways. The capital was quite an emotional place, as the recent Cambodian history has been tumultuous to say the least. First of all, we went to the grand palace, which was beautiful, and very nicely laid out ( big fan of the topairy!); a proper oasis.

Then, we went to S-21 prison. This was the place were the Kymer Rouge revolutionaries held and tortured people, from new- borns to the very elderly, during the 1970s. Around 12 people out of the 19000 ish people ( many went in for no reason at all- wearing glasses or speaking a foreign language made you a candidate) who went in, survived. The prison was once  a school, which is possible to tell today from the layout. However, in the class rooms are the old metal beds that were used in 'Interegations', there are black and white photos of some of the dead, and mug- shots that were taken of everyone that went in. It was very upsetting, particulary due to the calous and pointless-ness of it all.

Next stop was the ' Killing Fields'- the title sets the tone. This was where the Kymer Rouge took prisons to be executed and then buried them in mass graves. So far 8000 bodies have been interred, the skulls of which now stand in a glass fronted Stupa on the site. It is thought there could be a million people at the site, and there are still bones and old clothes visiable through the ground as you walk around. The whole experience was very sad, but im glad i saw it, especially as it is a historical event i knew hardly anything about before i came travelling.

After all that, we headed to Siem Reap, a place that definately shows a brighter side of Cambodias past, and something the people are very proud of. This Is Angkor, the site of the famous Angkor Wat temple, and its surrounding smaller temples, built from 1200-1450. It took 2 days to get around all the sites, and the achievement of what the people did then is incredible. Angkor wat takes the big prize, but all the temples, despite being slowly destroyed by the forest, are impressive. In a way, its sad to see how a country that once was so advanced, is now classed as developing.

Would have loved to stay longer in Cambodia and have gone down to the beaches, but time is ticking now, and the Thai Islands are calling! We got back to Bangkok today, and are going to Ko Phangan tommorow for a bit of sun! 

Tags: Sightseeing


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