We took the speedboat up the Mekong into Cambodia. A slight delay at the border due to lack of pages left in passport, but a slight switch of money in hand seemed to clear the issue up and we continued on our way. Phnom Penh is a stark contrast of craziness in comparison to the laid back lifestyle off the Mekong Delta, but it’s fun to weave your way through the city streets, with a new discovery at every turn.
You cannot visit Cambodia without learning about the Khmer Rouge barbarism from the 1970s. Stories from this nationwide genocide that killed an estimated 2-3 million people (up to 25% of the entire country’s population) are just beyond heart wrenching.
In an attempt to revert the country to an agricultural Year Zero a whole generation of educated elites (teachers, doctors, monks, artists) were just wiped out.
Visiting Tuol Sleng, a former school turned torture camp right in the middle of the city, is a brutal reminder of the autrocities these poor people endured.
We then visited Cheoung Ek (The Killing Fields) a mass burial site about 15 km from the city. It is a sobering experience with 5,000 skulls and almost 9,000 bodies displayed, is very difficult to process. With time still unveiling bits of clothing or the odd tooth underfoot from the ground. You feel as though the victims are still hollering from the grave sites. Just tragic.