Sunday, March 07, 2010

Cambodia so far....

So I have a lot to write about.... Well I crossed the border from Laos to Cambodia but not before a long and drawn out process. Basically I had to pay 23 USD dollars for a 1 month visa to Cambodia plus 3 dollars in "guard fees" aka bribes and after roughly 4 hours I managed to get into Cambodia in 1 piece. Thats just Asia for ya.

After getting into Cambodia I stayed 1 night in Kratie which to me was nothing special and really just another dirty city. I am sure it has some good points but, Cambodia is by far the poorest dirtiest country I have ever been too. There is beggars everywhere and people always want your money. It is really sad because most of them really need  it but you cant give it to them because if you give to one there is 20 other beggars who can see it and all want your money too. Cambodia is also the hottest country I have ever been too. it is boiling here with the humidity too!

After one day in Kratie I decided to skip Siem Reap with Angkor Wat and the beautiful temples ( supposed to be the 8th wonder of the world) due to the high cost in getting there and paying to see all the temples, and head directly to Phomn Phen. It was there that Kev and I met a really cool couple from Holland and we have been hanging out with them for a while.

We went to "The Killing Fields and S21" together. Those are the places in the 1970's where the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot killed over 3 million Cambodians between 1975-1979. I have been to concentration camps in Germany and stuff like that but these places were so much more "in your face" than anything I have ever seen before. There was still dried blood on the walls at S21. They had a room of photos of prisoners taken when they entered the S21 death camp, none of the people survived. There was over 4000 photos there. 20,000 people came into S21 and only 7 survived. It was good to see but very hard for me to go thru emotionally.

I accidentally got myself into an area not meant for tourists I think. I was trying to get out of the S21 Camp area and I went down 3 levels of stairs thinking I was going out the building. I didn't see any signs of any kind but I actually walked down into a basement type area. In that area was a mountain of clothes taller than me. much taller than me, the clothes still had blood clearly on them 35 years later. It was clearly the victims clothes and unfortunately  the image of that I think will be with the rest of my life. It was very powerful and sad and I wish I hadn't seen that. Babies were killed, adults,children,old people,educated people,poor people. It didn't matter. Entire generations lost. This just really showed me that humanity has the capacity for great compassion or great horror just due to the crazy people out there. It was really sad. Most people died there weren't even executed. They died from torture. The worst part is that almost every "leader"in the Khmer Rouge including Pol Pot escaped justice by just dying of natural causes. Not one of them has been brought to justice yet. It was good to see all that but very sad. I took a few pictures but honestly it was so depressing there I didn't take many and I doubt I will even share them all. You just need to go there and experience it for yourself.

After that we went onto happier times for dinner and drinks which was good but, we had to eat by candle light due to a city wide black out in Phomn Phen. There was no power at all! but it was actually kinda nice even if it was really hot! But they must be used to it because there was candles everywhere! Well that is all for now. I am safe and in a good guest house.

Until next time,Tyler

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