The road to Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh Travel Blog› entry 4 of 16 › view all entries
We said good bye to Saigon early in the morning and headed to the Mai Linh terminal to catch a bus to Phnom Penh. This started our dragging 7 hour journey to Phnom Penh. On the way, we saw a lot of farm lands - pretty much like in the provinces of the Philippines. Maybe, having been brought up in the city, I'm just not used to the provincial life, but yeah, I was quite surprised to find the toilet... on the floor. But oh well, when nature calls.. answer! :)
Now I really enjoyed and learned a lot from the Phnom Penh leg of our adventure. I actually describe it as life changing. We arrived at Phnom Penh in the afternoon and we immediately checked into the Billabong hotel.
We decided to go out this night to the Sisowath Quay for some drinks. We walked along the river-side to find ourselves an entertaining place and we settled in this resto-bar called Chow. That night DJ Sylvia from Brazil was on tour and was on her Phnom Penh leg as well. A funny thing also, while us girls were having some fun, a journalist from the Phnom Penh Post asked if he could take our picture and told us that it would be appearing on the Monday paper. (and it did!!) So we're like PP celebrities.
We spent the following day touring the city. We visited the Russian Market and the Royal Palace, but what really changed my life was the Choeung Ek Memorial (or The Killing Fields) and the Toul Seng Genocide Museum. These two destinations played a huge part in the history of Cambodia. During the Khmer Rouge, when Pol Pot had thousands of Kampucheans, men, women, children, old people, they would detain and torture them in the Toul Seng or have them killed by terrible means. We visited the Killing fields first, where the remains, bones, clothes of the victims are kept for memorial. The sites of the torture, killing and grave areas are labeled. Some history are detailed in signages as well. The entire place, although outdoors is very gloomy. I personally can picture the brutal murders happening as i read the captions over the different areas.
In Toul Seng, it is a 4-building complex where people are detained and tortured. There is also a gallery of the mugshots of a number of the victims, and you can actually view the torture cells which were sickening to the bones. It also served as the grave site of the last 14 victims. I also learned and quite hard, that children were forced to join the wars and several thousands died or got wounded along the way.
This opens up your eyes, you know. It gives you the realization that these things actually happen in real life and that however sad you think your life is, your life is still pretty good compared to those people there. They are not free in every aspect of the word. :( This made me value the things I have more. Whew!
On a lighter note we tried the Khmer barbecue which is really good. There's this like dome-shaped grill that is placed on the center of your table where you can cook your food.