Published: May 21st 2010May 20th 2010
We spent a fascinating (but sad) day in Phnom Penh yesterday. We spent the morning visiting Choeung Ek Killing Field, the site of 20,000 murders that took place during Pol Pot's reign. I had heard about the Killing Fields but was totally unaware of the degree of atrocities that took place during this regime. It seems that almost no one was spared from the devastating effects of Pol Pot's reign. Our tour guide lost both his father and his uncle (both just disappeared one day), and he said while Pol Pot was in power, his family had to wear black at all times and he was not allowed to wear shoes or go to school. His family was rationed just a tiny amount of rice per day. He teared up telling us his story - how sad. What a sobering experience!
The tour guide was nice enough to teach about some other Cambodian fun facts. Most interesting was that the current king has a love for ballet dancing, was trained in Sweden, and has never married! Recently, Cambodia has becoming quite the tourist destination for gay couples and Jason thinks he knows why!
We spent the rest of the afternoon sweating it out to see the Royal Palace. It was BEAUTIFUL but honestly, by that point, we were so hot, sticky and disgusting, it was hard to truly appreciate it. All in all, we loved Phnom Penh. Great meals, interesting sights and some fascinating history.
A mini-van with basically zero shocks picked us up from our hotel and drove us the five hours to Siem Reap. What a harrowing experience! The roads were well-traveled but mainly by livestock and motorcycles carrying way too many people not wearing helmets. We very nearly had a head-on collision with more than one cow and it was a good thing that at least the brakes and a/c were functioning on the van. It was a long, bumpy five hours but we safely arrived at our fantastic hotel in Siem Reap. So good to be here!