Sihanoukville, Phnom Pehn, Siem Reap

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May 25th 2005
Published: May 29th 2005
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Angelina was hereAngelina was hereAngelina was here

I was standing next to a tour group while taking this photo, the tour guide is still haunted, after 3 years, of those famous lips.
After leaving Jon in Trat, I headed for the border hoping to get across before closing. I decided to change course and enter from the coast, the Swedish gals said the road most directly to Siem Reap took 7 hours but only a distance of 150km! I chose the vomit class high speed ferry instead. This baby was shaped for pain, around 90 feet long but only 15 feet wide and loaded with several hundred crates of questionable food at the back it didn't take much to realize this boat's front end would shoot out the water if there was any chop. And there was, I lost count when I resorted to putting my head between my legs but I heard at least 5 people vomit. It sounded like Ferris Bueller's keyboard. The first stop was Sihanoukville, Cambodia's major port city, beach resort town. The town's major claim to fame was during the 'American War' as it was the major transit point for weapons into the area. It's nice to be back on US dollars again but I'm always converting dollars to baht to compare prices with Thailand, a little stupid. Enjoying a couple days on the beach wasn't to be,
Dave's photoDave's photoDave's photo

This swing was more than 5 feet off the ground, looks nice but doesn't get a lot of use.
I got my first taste of food poisoning and got to know the bathroom quite well instead.

Healed up I headed for the capital, Phnom Pehn and got a dose of reality on the not too distant past the Kehmer people endured. Just outside of town is Cambodia's most known killing field, Choeung Ek. Filled in a tall white pillar are skulls of genocide victims, some show blunt trauma, ghastly evidence of their death. 8985 victims were exhumed from 86 graves with an additional 43 left untouched. How Pol Pot, leader of the Khmer Rouge was allowed to live until 1998 is very hard to understand. Toul Sleng Genocide Museum follows, once a school, the building was converted to a terror prison where all classes of Cambodians were tortured due to suspected anti-revolutionary activity, most ended up in Choeung Ek. Rooms where torture took place remain intact, steal bed frames, leg shackles and blood stained walls together with photos of all the prisoners make this place seem as though its still ready for new prisoners. Two nights in Phnom Pehn are enough, I had probably the most reservations about this city than any other when I was planning the
So thats how it worksSo thats how it worksSo thats how it works

I just thought this was funny.
trip but I never felt vulnerable or unsafe. There is something like 1 for every 256 Khmers that are land mine victims and many are in the city, I started setting aside a daily amount to give away.

In planning this trip I anticipated seeing all those natural and man made wonders hoping that I wouldn't feel let down, knowing exactly what they look like. Ankor Wat is the first such place and I'm happy to say that photos cant reveal the details found in the small places. Arriving in Siem Reap was what celebrities must feel like getting off a bus. So crowded with touts I had to jump into them or I would have never gotten off. Renting motorcycles to tour the ruins aren't allowed, I was crushed, so the touts must be used. The Khmer empire was at its building peak between 800 and 1450 ad, kings had religious monuments, mostly Hindu, built from stone over 50 km away. Buddhism is now practiced, Hindu evidence remains though. Ankor Wat was built as the ultimate Hindu site representing the universe in its architectural design. Ankor Wat serves as Cambodia's prime source of identity, its featured on the
Load it upLoad it upLoad it up

I've started a photo collection of tuk tuks and overworked bikes, this guy ended up passing our sorry excuse for a bus.
national flag. My two favorite sites were Ta Phrom, the Jungle temple a site that is un-restored and more popular because of it. The other is in the old city of Ankor Thom, its called Bayon this temple was re-modeled by successive kings and as a result looks very disorganized, but very fun to explore. In all the reign lasted through 26 kings and several different building styles rooted through Indian sources. There are 45 major ruins sites, a 3 day pass is necessary to see most of them. That said Ankor Wat can be a zoo as many choose a one day pass instead, it looks like morning mass at sunrise there.

Wow this is probably the most boring post yet, sorry.

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Toul Sleng PrisonToul Sleng Prison
Toul Sleng Prison

One of 14 bodies were found in rooms like these when Phnom Pehn was liberated.
Toul Sleng Prison CellToul Sleng Prison Cell
Toul Sleng Prison Cell

Most inmates were shackled to the floor with rods like this one.
Choeung EkChoeung Ek
Choeung Ek

This is one one level of many within the tower in front of the killing fields.
East MebonEast Mebon
East Mebon

This shot is taken within the inner wall. Built in 953 it was used to store water, a city reservoir.
Guard at Preah KhanGuard at Preah Khan
Guard at Preah Khan

This temple served as a Buddhist university, 1000 teachers were said to inhabit the area.
Front chamber Preah KhanFront chamber Preah Khan
Front chamber Preah Khan

This site was so large two ponds were within the city wall.
Banteay KdeiBanteay Kdei
Banteay Kdei

This site was built over another temple, its style is a combination of two different architectural styles.
Ankor somethingAnkor something
Ankor something

I forget the name of this one.
Inside Ankor Wat upper levelInside Ankor Wat upper level
Inside Ankor Wat upper level

The detail and preservation are outstanding, the roof was in perfect condition

This site is in the heart of Ankor Thom, the ruin looks disorganized, successive kings added towers in an odd fashion.

6th June 2005

not boring
YO S-Dog, This journal wasn't at all boring. I actually learned a lot. Keep the fun factoids coming - Heatha'

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