Phnom penh and siem reap
27.05.2011 - 05.06.2011 34 °C
We took a boat from Saigon to Cambodia, it took about 6 hours. Had an option for slow or fast we took fast boat which was huge and had an outdoor area at tieback where you could have a beer and play cards. First stop was phnom penh, can't remember our hotel but it was close to the main street but stunk of moth balls! Cambodia is so much poorer than vietnam and you can see it and feel it everywhere. There are kids seling trinkets and bracelets everywhere. They start with '3 for a dollar, then, it's five for a dollar, then 10 for a dollar' and the whole time you're saying I don't want any thanks, then they start wth the 'why nots'. These kids are everywhere, out well are dark, with their parents no where to be seen. They're so cute too, beautiful skin and big brown eyes, its heartbreaking. One night we ended up packaging up our left over curry as there was heaps left. These kids had come in the sell us stuff and they were so young about 2,4,&5 I asked if they were hungry and they said yes. When gave it to them outside, along with a coke and water we bought for them, she yelled to her friends and mum and they all sat in a doorway and demolished the food in seconds. Such an eye opener, we are so lucky back home in new Zealand and Australia. Fishing villages were also really poor and living off $1 a day.
We also went on a quad bike tour which I can't recommend enough, it was called blazing trails, we took the day one including the killing fields and sunset. They dropped us off at the killing fields first, the first monument was a huge shrine filled with 10,000 odd skulls dug up from the mass graves of pol pot. Then we walked by the graves and as we looked down we realized in the dirt where we stood were fragments of bone and pieces of peoples clothes! Every time it rains mire body parts get washed up, the western education system doesn't even touch this at school and it only happen thirty years ago! They killed people using farm tools and some grabbed babies and children by the legs and swung their heads into a tree to kill them, they were killing hundreds a day in the end and took out a quarter of the population. Now days everyone had a family member that died in the regime, immediate family. The killers were forced to kill by threats that if they didn't their families would get tortured and killed, they would play loud music to drown out the groans from this being killed and a corrosive was poured onto the mass graves to eliminate the smell and kill anyone half buried and still alive. Horrendous....
Thoughout the bike tour we met the most amazing kids - take some lollies or pencils if youre going out there - they all run out to the gate when they hear the bikes coming to wave and yell 'hello!'
The genocidde museum was just as confronting, a school transformed into a torture zone where people were locked up in tiny horse carrying like cells and beaten often dying there, or if not being blindfolded and taken to the killing fields by the truckload. There were photos and stories of survivors but also the weapons and photos of the torture devices were still there.
Completely horrifying but necessary, pretty hard to sleep after seeing it.
Siem reap was much less depressing, Ankor Wot is breath taking but my favourite was ta prom a must see! What an amazing place!