Sorry the picture in this blog in no way depicts anything we have done in Cambodia but there were no other Cambodian photos to choose from!
Since our last blog we have made it to Siem Reap in Cambodia and over the next few days will be visiting the legendary Angkor Wat temples with a rather dubious tuk-tuk man!
Following the last blog we visited Security Prison (S)-21 and the Killing Fields outside of Phenom Penh. It was one of the most intense and depressing days we've had. S-21 used to be a school before it was turned into a torture/detention camp by the Khmer Rouge. One of the most awful things we saw all day were the pictures of the victims that the prison officers had taken - including those of children (some of who were younger than Alexander, and that set me off in tears). The prison guards also used former school PE equipment in the torture of victims. The fact that such a place of innocence was turned into a place of pure evil was shocking. It sounds stupid but we could feel it was a place of unrest and torment. A documentary film was shown at the museum about a former victim and her husband, which helped to put movements of the time into perspective. He was working for the Khmer Rouge and yet was still "exterminated". After S-21 we went onto the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek where most of the detainees from S-21 were taken to be killed (only 7 victims survived S-21!). Strangely, despite the monument in the centre containing 8,000 excavated skulls it felt less sinister and was a place to respect the people who suffered there.
A truly horrfiying day, but essential in appreciating the country and it's people. Everyone here is always smiling and happy - especially if you smile it is always returned. Makes all our selfish drives seem meaningless.
From Phenom Penh we headed down to Sihanoukville, which is on the coast of Cambodia. It was nice to be in a beach area and there were alot of British run places (was both a good and bad aspect!). Pug spent a few days on the beach whilst I attempted my PADI open water (hope you'll be proud Mr S!). I managed to pass, although how is a mystery! haha! The first day of academic stuff was easy and the first day of diving was eventful! For some reason (I think I was over-confident) I decided to panic when underwater - I was shocked I could breathe! After all the confined exercises in shallow water it was time for my first dive which was quite fun, and as we did no exercises it went smoothly. Then came the second dive. All was going smoothly until I had to flood my mask and empty it - which I seemed to struggle with and hence spat my regulator out! This sent Danny (my crazy ex-French, turned Khmer instructor) into panic who then shoved my regulator back into my mouth and was attempting to force me to breathe! Sounds stupid, but sometimes you really can forget to breathe under there. It was all fine in the end though and we continued the dive once I was breathing ok! The second day of diving was cool though and went pretty smoothly. Pug even got to come on my last dive as my buddy which was awesome. Visibility wasn't amazing (Pug lost his buddy on the first dive - not his fault) but it was good to do. I managed to see some illuminous blue fish and a blue spotted back ray.
Hope everyone is taking care. We'll let you know how Angkor Wat goes - I may try some Lara Croft moves whilst there! (shame Daniel Craig's not with me though).