This morning we took a half day tour to the Tuel Sleng Genocide Museum and Killing Fields.
The museum used to be a school but the Khmer Rouge took it over in the 70s and turned it into a prison and torture centre.
There are just no words to describe this place and what happened here. The pictures were graphic. Although years and continents apart it is like Auschwitz. Same hatred, cruelty, pain and horror. Utter evil. Do people ever learn?
We then travelled about a half hour out of the city to The Killing Fields. The Khmer Rouge version of the death camp. Sheer evil. Bones and clothes still come up with the rains. It’s still there to see. Unimaginable horrors.
A beautiful stupa commemorates the countless victims; men, women, children, seniors, Cambodians and a few foreigners. One in four Cambodians died during the Khmer Rouge’s bloody five year regime; over 2,000,000 people.
After a quick break at our hotel, we stopped at Friends restaurant....a restaurant (training area) created to help marginalized children and youth.
John then stayed at the hotel for an afternoon nap while Cora and I grabbed a tuktuk and went to the Central Market. You could get just about anything there; precious stones, silver, clothing, fabrics, beauty services, fresh fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, dry goods, incense, arts and crafts and more. The scents changed depending which area you were in. I negotiated and purchased an intricate cut leather Khmer mermaid and some famous Cambodian black and white pepper.
We negotiated and grabbed another tuktuk to Wat Phnom where we met John at the front gates. They asked foreigners to buy tickets ($1 US) but no one asked us to present them. It did not take us long to visit it.
Taking another tuktuk we headed to the waterfront where we walked around the boardwalk, watching people fishing, tourists enjoying the late afternoon and locals selling food or going about their daily lives.
We went for sunset drinks at Titanic Restaurant and Bar on the river while we waited for my friend Louise’s daughter Beth to meet us. Beth is here doing a practicum for her masters for three months.
The view was lovely and we had a wonderful dinner before grabbing a tuktuk to drive us around the town at night. The Independence Monument is very impressive when lit up at night. The area including street side trees was also beautifully lit up.
Beth took another tuktuk home from the monument and we went back to the hotel.