Unfortunately, I feel like we are barely giving you the cliff notes of what actually goes on while we are traveling. It’s hard to find time to capture every moment in this blog and sometimes it’s just easier to write captions above the photos! Yes, there is good, bad and ugly. We are lucky that we haven’t had anything stolen and haven’t gotten sick, but there’s plenty of things that have gone wrong along the way. It’s all about the adventure of traveling. Arriving to Cambodia from Thailand was a huge wake up call. We left “The Land of Smiles” and arrived to the gritty, hustling city of Phnom Penh. Everyone in this city hustles… even the eight-year-olds were wheeling and dealing with us. You wouldn’t even believe it. After spending 10 days in Cambodia, this country has truly grown on me as you will see in future blogs. We have made more connections with the local people here than anywhere else on our trip.
A quick history lesson on Cambodia! In the 60’s the Vietnam War spilt over into Cambodia. The US dropped some 500,000 tons of bombs on Cambodia. In the early 70’s, Cambodia’s leader was ousted and the Khmer Rouge took control implementing one of the most radical and brutal restructurings of society ever attempted. The goal was to create a classless society, but the reality of what happened was that 2 million people lost their lives through starvation, disease and murder. Education, religion, medicine, currency, homes, businesses were destroyed during this time. The Vietnamese defeated the Khmer Rouge in 1975, but fighting continued up until the 90’s with many Cambodians displaced in refugee camps. Cambodia is ranked near the top of world countries with active land mines and bombs. Before all of the war, Cambodia was leading SE Asia in modern development, but now it is probably 40 years behind Thailand.
Wat Phnom- set on the only hill in PP
Tuol Sleng Museum- It was once a school that was turned into a prison/torture chamber by the Khmer Rouge
The Killing Field is where most of the Tuol Sleng prisoners were murdered and buried. The picture below is a memorial holding the skulls and clothing of some 8000 people that died here. I had a lump in my throat the whole time we were there as you can still see tattered clothing and bits of bones around the excavated mass graves.
River view from our little oasis at the Foreign Correspondents Club... half price happy hour!