1-4 December 06
After leaving Saigon we travelled in style on the Mekong express limo service to Phnom Penh the capital of Cambodia. Before arriving in Phnom Penh we had heard a few stories about the place. Apparently some of the locals tend to shoot each other over the karieoke mike and other very seriouse matters like that. Most of the hotel's and guest house's advise not to go out at night, and if so to stay in the main tourist area. With this information in mind we decided we would venture outside but keep to the main tourist area's and out of the sing-along bars because we did'nt want Danielle popping a cap in someone's arse over her turn to do Celine Dion!
Cambodia is the most pverty strichen place that we have seen, On the first night as soon as we got outside the guest house there is a man lying on the floor with one arm and one leg begging, a few meters from this a woman with two babies sitting on the floor begging, few meters from this five kids aged between five to ten with tattered clothes, no shoes, all dirty; begging, few meters from this a man in a wheel chair with no legs, one arm and badly burned begging, the list goes on. We also noticed alot more middle aged to older men here, either alone or in small groups; dirty, horrible b******s. It probably does not take much here for parents to sell their kids. The first day as you's can probably tell got to us a bit.
On the second day we decided to go and see the killing fields. Between 1975-1978, when Jamie and Kate where still in nappies, Pol Pot and his crownies took over Cambodia closing off all access to the surrounding countries. Anyone with a profession was either immediately killed or forced to leave their jobs and work in the fields with the rest of the population, If they refused he/she and their family would be sent to S-21. This was an old school which Pol Pot changed into a prison. In S-21 the family including young children; would be starved, raped, beaten and tortered for months, even years, before being sent to the killing fields. Here they would be bludgened to death with crow bars, pic-axe handles, etc (as bullets were deemed too expensive to waste), before being thrown into a pit with hundreds of other bodies. The sights and stories are unbelievable. As you are walking around there is still bits of victims clothing, and visable broken bones scattered around the field, and to think all of this was going on no more than 30 years ago. One of the tour guides who was there was close to tear's because he had lost his whole family there.
Later on that evening we were sitting at a bar on the Phnom Penh river front (the tourist part) when we heard two loud screeches, next we saw two 4X4's, one chasing the other and firing shots at it. During all the commotion, ourselves and the other 1-2 hundred tourists lining the river frount are looking to dive for cover, but the locals just shrugged it off as though it was a natural occurance.
Next stop Siem Reap.