Friday, April 28

Phnom Penh: The sequel

The next day we arranged for a Tuk Tuk to take us around and see some more sights. We really wanted to go see the Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields, so we hired a driver to stay with us all day taking us where we wanted to go. Ah luxury!

It's really hard to describe these places. It's difficult to imagine such terror in the recent past. You should go see it for yourself, it's pretty haunting.

The Genocide Museum. It used to be a school, then it was used for torture.

The rules to be followed.

Just a few of the approximately 2 million people killed during the Pol Pot regime... young, old, male, female... it didn't matter at all.

A monument at the Killing Fields filled with recovered skulls.

The skulls in the tower.

These are some of the mass graves from where the skulls were recovered.

In the paths between the graves, you can see bones protruding from the dirt.

Occasionally there were piles of bones and clothes. So disturbing.

Despite the gruesome and somber feelings surrounding these sites, we managed to see some real beauty on the way home. The countryside was just gorgeous.

Phnom Penh countryside.

We headed back to the hotel to rest up for the next day's trip north to see Angkor Wat.


Thursday, April 13

Phnom Penh

After 4 days in Sihanoukville, we were ready for a change of pace. We were actually getting kinda bored with the beach. So we headed north, back to Phnom Penh.

We'd spent a night in Phnom Penh on our way to Sihanoukville, but didn't get a chance to do much exploring. So we went back to check out the city. And what a great city it is. Scenic, river-front, friendly people, elephants in the street - all the things that make a city great.

The view from our hotel.

The elephant. Of course. Every city needs one.

Phnom Penh also has some beautiful temples.

A temple downtown.

Another temple downtown...

Our favorite part of Phnom Penh, if not one of our favorite parts of the trip, was wandering through the temples and universities, chatting with the monks. At first we were intimidated by them, but after initiating a conversation with one monk, we realized that monks are typically friendly, well-educated, and very eager to practice their English. As we were walking around looking for and interacting with the monks we came up with some monk-centric slang... it went like this....

"Quick! Don't miss the monk-ortunity to take their picture"

"Let's go take pictures of them at Monk-iversity, sitting on their Monk-ercycle..."

In all seriousness, we had a great respect for the Monks. It turns out every Buddhist male has only one opportunity in their life to live as a Monk. Some do it for a long time, some for only a year or so. But once you have given it up, you may not go back.

After a day wandering around the city, we made arrangements with a tuk-tuk driver to pick us up the next morning for a tour of the surrounding areas, including the Genocide Museum, the Killing Fields and the countryside. As depressing as it sounds, we were really looking forward to learning more about the fascinating history of this area. But that's for the next entry.

-Tom and Jessi