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Holiday in Cambodia

I apologize if this page takes a long time to load, but I have a lot to show, and I have omitted many photos that I would have preferred to post because my bandwidth is limited.

We started the day by going to S-21, also known as Tuol Sleng (Strychnine Hill). One of the four buildings, and the third floor of another, have been left in the same condition that they were in when the Vietnamese found them in 1979. The rest of the compound has displays and photos of the 14,000 - 20,000 people who were tortured there. It’s a pretty creepy place.

On the third floor of one building, there are larger rooms where special enemies of the state were held. They have thick glass windows, so that people would not hear them cry out when they were tortured. On the wall of each room is a photo of what the Vietnamese found when they entered. Other than removing the bodies and hosing down the floor, nothing has changed. You can still see bloodstains on the floors and walls:
Another building has displays, like shackles:
Torture Devices:
Hey look! a waterboard:
The waterboard was condemned as cruel and inhumane by the US Government (at the time, at least). It was one of the most feared and effective of all of the torture devices there, and people routinely turned in their neighbors, friends, parents, and even their children as traitors to avoid being waterboarded. People would rather be whipped, shocked, beaten, or have their fingernails pulled out...
This building has been left as is:
Most people who have houses abutting the property have walled off the windows:

Well that was fun wasn’t it? On to Cheung Ek, shall we?

This huge Stupa has over 12,000 skulls which have been unearthed from the pits:
Most people were killed by a blow to the head with a shovel or pickaxe:
They have left room for more skulls and bones as they are found:
About half of the pits have been exhumed, and clothing and bones are continuously surfacing in the surrounding area. They are collected by monks and placed in the Stupa:
I overheard a guide saying that these femurs had been found in the last week:
Oh yeah, just in case you are an idiot:
This is the most famous of the Killing Fields, and it is one of, but not, the largest. There are over 300 different sites like this around the country. Only 15 Khmer Rouge were ever arrested for what they did (the trials of the ones who are still alive will begin later this year), so I would imagine that quite a few people I see on the street were involved in this sort of thing.


A Couple of Pix from Phnom Penh

I was only home for three weeks so I never really forgot that India smell, which is good because it smells the same here in Phnom Penh. The weather is gorgeous, about 80 in the morning and 90 in the afternoon.

Here is the view from my balcony at the lovely
Raffles Hotel Le Royal:
Eric and I went down to the riverfront for dinner at a place with a nice view of the waterfront, but all of the good seats were taken. From where we were sitting we had a good view of the sunset over a couple of big Wats:
There were some adorable little kitties hanging out with us while we ate, and of course we shared some of our food with them:
To paraphrase the late Frank Zappa - Kitties and Beer! Awesome! The place kind of sucked though, because it was full of trust-fund hippies and rich Germans - very annoying - and the food was nothing special.

The Khmer people are friendly and most of them speak at least a little English, but there is a lot of petty crime here, so we need to be a bit careful. That didn’t stop us from wandering down several back streets after dark to find some SIM cards for our phones, which was kind of creepy. We finally found one place, but they only had one SIM card, so I let Eric have it - and we didn’t get mugged. I’ll go back and get one tomorrow. BTW - Meshell and Kirk know Eric - small world...

Work is only about a three minute walk away, but they told us to take a tuk-tuk home if we leave after dark, because we will probably get robbed and/or beaten up. The fun never ends.

This weekend we are going to Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields. Should be a barrel of fun... Then we want to go back to the riverfront and check out the neighborhood again, which is full of street vendors, craft shops, beggars, thieves, whorehouses, pedophiles, restaurants, drug addicts, and all kinds of other great things that make humans so special. I love this place.

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