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Published: January 19th 2018
Day 10 Phnom Penh. Rest day.
A lie in today, up at 6.45 and out exploring the massive central market with Roger, Joe, Anita, Darel and Margaret. The volume of goods is massive, many of which are the same but still a good range. The fish and meat stalls are something else with monsters from the deep. We got caught up in the T shirt area and were seduced by the girls selling stuff at rock bottom prices and enjoying the banter. T shirts were $2, polo shirts $5. There were some genuine Ray Bans at $15, which Roger was tempted to buy. At the roadside we had a light lunch of rice with a small portion of chicken noodles, but not chicken as we know it. I think they take off the portion of meat for the restaurants and then chop up the rest of the chicken, bones and all and fry it up. There is then a battle to find a little meat from the bones and gristle. Ok though. There were 6 of us that had this with a can of beer or soft drink and the bill was $9. The building is French Colonial built in
1936 painted cream and symmetrical so we ended up going out of the wrong side and heading in the wrong direction. We got out a map and compass and eventually made our way back to the hotel by walking on the road and fighting the traffic. The pavements are full of cars, motorbikes and stalls, piles of bricks and uncovered manholes. Our Health and Safety donkeys would have a field day. Safety is very important but I think we should be an hit more relaxed about minor things. I found out yesterday that vehicles here have to be taxed but not insured. So if there is a crash you have to accept knock for knock or agree damages on site. Don’t hit a Lexus though as you could end up dealing with some undesirables.
In the afternoon we took a tour of Cheoung Ek Killing Field, 15km south of Phnom Penh where over 3000 people of all levels of society were killed between 1975 and 1979 by the Khmer Rouge. Their leader Pol Pot recruited you people with pliable minds and indoctrinated them to carry out the atrocities and even killed their own families. Since bullets were expensive they tied
the victims hands behind their back, made them kneel over a large grave and clubbed them around the head pushing tho into the hole. Babied were either bashed against a tree or were thrown up in the air and bayoneted. Before the war started the Cambodian population was 7 million. Afterwards it was 3.5 million. These killing centres were spread across the whole of Cambodia. Many graves contained 300 people with many naked. There is a Stupa monument in Cheoung Ek contains thousands of bones and skulls on display in glass cases so that we will never forget. Following this we went to S7, which is the interrogation jail in Phnom Penh. The Cells and torture chambers were pretty horrific and more so since it is relatively recent.
We are all feeling a bit down at the moment and so looking forward to our meal tonight which is run by a training school for caterers.
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