Phnom Penh: loud, smelly, polluted and not nearly as friendly as Siem Reap.
We made it to Phnom Penh yesterday and spent today visiting a cambodian high school that was converted into a concentration camp. We had a private tour guide who explained the tragedies that took place there. We then travelled outside town to visit one of the killing fielda where they executed 2 million cambodians during the Khmer Rouge regime (1975 to 1979). The executed were burried in mass graves and in an effort to save ammunition they were usually beaten with hammers and sticks before having their neck slit and pushed into the grave with the other dead. It is incredibly sad, but a stark reality and important part of Cambodian history. It was quite creepy to wander around the camp with the images of the slaughtered staring at you.
We are not fond of this city as it is too busy and honestly smells like, well it just smells bad all of the time (Heather says like pollution!) , but we are glad we came and learned about the regime that ran this country for too long.
It poured rain for the first time since we got here today, but it didn't last long. Our moto driver (not nearly as fantastic as Sambo) pulled down the flaps so it felt like we were in an old fashioned horse drawn carriage. We talked with british accents for a moment...heheh.
What do babies, roads and cell phones have in common? Motorcycles. Not only is the traffic insane in this city, but babies (we're talking under a year old) ride around on their parents lap, or inbetween two people or holding onto the front of motorcylces like nothing. No helmets, no make-shift car seat....just babies flapping in the breeze - you know how it is. I don't think we'll ever get used to the kid aspect on motorcycles, which share the road with huge trucks, small trucks, vans and slow moving bicycles and a steady stream of random pedestrians crossing the road at all times.
I got sick for the first time last night, but feel much better tonight. I think pepto bismo will be my friend this trip. Tomorrow we head to a small beach town on the coast for some R&R and look forward to the more laid back Cambodia we came to love in Siem Reap.
Love you all.
Leanna & Heather