We have arrived safe and sound in Cambodia! We got the speed Boat from Chau Doc to Phnom Penh at 8:00am and arrived at 1:30pm, It didn't seem very fast but it was fun. We are staying in a 4 bed room with Lisa and Sally at Tat2 Guest House.
Today we went to 'The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek' and 'S21' (Security Prison 21).
As soon as you arrive at 'The Killing Fields' you notice the large white Stupa. As you get closer you realise that it is a large case with 17 layers, each layer filled with the bones from the surrounding graves. A pile of Clothes at the bottom, then 5 layers of skulls, then various bones put together on the ramaining 11 layers. This was a site of mass killings between 1975-1978 by the Khmer Rouge. Approximately 17000 Men, Women and Children were killed and burried in 129 mass graves. The bodies were excavated in the mid 1980's and put in the large stupa as a way of respect for them.
The graves that they found were very full, 1 mass grave roughly 8x10ft contained 450 bodies, another smaller grave contained 166 beheaded corpses with the heads never found. Another grave about 6x8ft containing 100 Men, Women and Children most of them naked. Almost everyone of the bodies found show evidence that they were all beaten to death as the werent enough bullets to go around. In the site the most horrific thing I saw was the tree they used to kill babies, they would hold them by their legs and swing their heads at the tree trunk, then just toss them into the pit. Some of the bodies here were accidentaly buried alive, so they would pour chemicals in to the pits to make sure they were dead, this would also help cover the smell.
In the afternoon we visited 'S21' (Security Prison 21) or Tuol Sleng Prison. This used to be a School but was converted in 1975 into a prison, by Pol Pots security forces. Most held here was later killed at 'The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek', although 100 people per day died in the prison due to torture. Those who died in the prison were buried in the prison grounds.
S21 is a hard hitting truthfull dedication the the horrors that happened here. A single rusted bed and a disturbing black and white photo of the torture inflicted in the room your stood in are all that is left in some rooms. It is quite haunting as you are wandering around, all you hear is the bats that hang from the stair cases.
It was quite a shocking day but very informative. The way the information was set up in both 'The Killing Fields' and 'S21' was very easy to take in and digest, unlike some of the other museums we have been to on this trip.
When we got back to our Guest house we spoke to the owner about our day. She revealed that she was one of 12 children but lost a brother and a sister to the Pol Pots regime.
Tomorow we are getting a bus to Siem Reap to do the Ankor Temples with Sally and Lisa. We have booked our flight to Bangkok for the 16th of June, so will be returning to Phnom Penh for that.