All the pictures shown here were taken by me....
Cambodia-Wow!....Day one was free and easy and day two found me in the city of Phnom Penh the capital….It is crowded….Old roads that are too small for all the cars not to mention the motorcycles and bicycles….Our tour took us to the Imperial Palace which is a beautiful building part of an incredible compound….The uselessness of royalty, the basic meaningless of saying one person and his relations are god-like enough to rule over other people is forgotten about in seeing the beautiful rendering of the Ramayana that adorns the wall surrounding the royal compound….
The Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum was next and it was one of the most disturbing experiences I have ever had….A high school that was turned into a torture center/prison by the Khmer Rouge and then into a remembrance center featuring many of the torture instruments that were used on people, the cells they stayed in and most disturbing of all the photos of the victims which were methodically taken and recorded….Also on display were paintings of many gruesome torture scenes done by one of only seven people who survived Tuol Sleng.
Day three found us on the road to Siem Reap….It’s a five hour drive not because of distance but because of the lack of a freeway that makes the driving slow….We stopped at a rest stop wherein young kids attempted to sell me fruit other things and beg off me….Beggars are a common sight here and were advised by our tour group leader not to give them anything as they would all attack you at once like piranha.
Here are some fried spiders for sale….
Siem Reap, Cambodia’s second largest city, is much more modern than Phnom Penh….It is cleaner and and has newer looking roads and buildings….I believe this is due to the nearby proximity of Angkor Wat and other historical sites and the tourists they attract….Although tourism is currently third as far as industries go in Cambodia with agriculture being first and manufacturing being second, it is fast growing and definitely the engine that drives Siem Reap.
I actually preferred Angkor Tom the capital city of ancient Cambodia to Angkor Wat the largest city….The remains were better preserved.
Also here’s the Ta Prohm temple which was used in the first TOMB RAIDER film….
All in all, I thought Cambodia was wonderful….It has its ugly spots and it’s fair to say that it has not yet really recovered from the three year genocidal rule of the Khmer Rouge or the years before that when US dropped 214 tons of explosives on the country or the decades long civil war in the years after but I was most impressed by the people-they were reserved yet warm and always polite in a genuine way unlike say what a Western tourist faces in Thailand where people are also polite but always sizing you up for how much money they can get out of you.
I would like to go back to Cambodia and see it at my own speed rather than as part of a tour….It’s truly a great place.