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Published: April 22nd 2012
Cambodia breaks my heart. I have spent 2 days here in Phnom Penh and the country is one of the poorest countries in the world. I have seen so much proverty and it really breaks my heart. It is quite dirty here and people leave trash on the streets (I'm assuming someone picks up the trash that is left in a pile). I see people digging through the trash, hoping to find something worth having. People have told me that in this country, the wealthy are extremely wealthy and the poor, well, they fight for survival.
Anyway, I woke up and headed out to the Royal Palace and the National Museum. The places are spectacular and the Golden Buddha displayed is beautiful. The weather was quite humid and hot with a scorching 90 degrees (30 degrees celsius) with 70% humidity. No bueno 😞 So couldn't wait til we went out for lunch with a/c!
Headed out to the Killing Fields aka Choeung Ek Genocidal Center and Tuol Sleng aka Former Office of S.21. It was so depressing I just wanted to cry. I felt close to this place being that my parents just got out of the country just
months before the Khmer Rouge took over. You can see the remains and the graves from the Killing Fields and literally, walk on remnants of bones. I then headed over to Choeung Ek where it was a former secondary school converted to the main interrogation center/torture room. People were taken there for no reason and forced to remain there, interrogated, tortured, then sent directly to die in one of the many places the Khmer Rouge set up. When you see the horrific images, you wonder how anyone would ever come to that point to do such inhumane acts. So so sad. My tour guide that I got had told me how she was put into a camp when she was 4 and lost her father who was taken away from the Khmer Rouge. There's not a single person that lives here that hasn't lost someone during the regime. Literally, 1 out of 4 people in the population were killed by the Khmer Rouge while they were in power. 😞 I met a survivor named Chum Mey from the Tuol Sleng, who was 1 of the 7 people who survived out of 12,000+ victims who were killed (only 2 remain). He
was really sweet and told me his experiences of being tortured, nails pulled, chained, beaten, etc. I bought one of his letters that he wrote and he was so fortunate that I was helping him as the country doesn't have social security. He is 81 now.
Anyway, after the depressing day, I decided to get some dinner. Headed out to the Riverside Front and went to Chow (recommended by Ian and Fredrik!) and got an appetizer and a glass of wine there. Met some aussies and we all headed out to Pop Cafe (recommended by Nhi!). I got a lasagna there that she raved about. It was definitely different, but yummy nonetheless.
Long night. Did some laundry old school way (washing the clothes in the sink) and will be flying out tomorrow to Siem Reap to check out Angkor Wat!! 😊
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