Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Phnom Penh

Our boat across Cambodia docked in the capital Phnom Penh. Or reading and suggestions from other travelers gave us the idea that this place did not require much time to visit. It a busy city with a handful of sights that we could take in in a day. Rather than finding a small sweatbox to sleep in for the night we opted to catch the nit bus to Saigon leaving at midnight.

We walked by the Royal Palace, but decided not to pay the high entrance fee to see another group highly decorated pagodas with golden Buddhas. I know it sounds lame not to seeing everything a city has to offer, but these palaces really do looks the same.

We spent the afternoon at the genocide museum slowing walking from cell to cell looking at thousands of mugshots of the victims and reading about the atrocities that occurred not so long ago. It was brutal and painful and necessary to visit and pay respect to both the innocent and the confused. The building was once a high school that turned into a political prison where the Khmer Rouge tortured the inmates to death. Only seven of the thousands survived the place. There were a scattering of older prisoners while most of them were young men and women in their teens and early twenties. Children were not excluded.

The killing fields lay an hour outside of the city where the bodies of millions of the executed lay. It is a field of skulls and bones and not much more. We saw the images in the museum and decided to not take the journey to the fields partly because it would be bringing us back on a tuk-tuk in the dark and partly because of our general energy level.

I had thought I would have spent at least a couple weeks in Cambodia and there is still a possibility of returning near the end of our journey. We did see and experience a lot in such a short time. Long full days at the ruins and lots of boat travels throughout the countywide and the villages have left us satiated and content to move on. Even with such a short visit, my heart goes out to Cambodia an the sweet Cambodians.

Location:Phnom Penh Cambodia

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