Feeling the Screams of a Million Tortured Souls

Trip Start Jul 22, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Nomads (Encounters) Hostel

Flag of Cambodia  ,
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Last night Greg mentioned that he was heading to the Killing Fields today at 8am for a tour. I say that I doubt I'll be up that early. This was a tour not to be missed, he says.

Me, I had no plans for today. I don't remember what I wanted to see when I had done my original research. I haven't had time to open my Lonely Planet Guide. The bare room that I was in was located in the middle of the building. There were no windows. Even in the middle of the day the room was pitch black. I slept quite well.

Up at 8am, showered, then headed down to the lobby for breakfast. Greg and Stephanie were still there. There is no "official" tour. Greg has asked one of the tuk-tuk drivers to drive him, Stephanie, and two other guys around today. Greg still wants me to join them. One of the other guys is still sleeping. I say I still need to eat breakfast. No problem. We leave, when we leave. I like this guys' attitude about life. He keeps on coming up with these awesome sayings. Such as, "Fuck-it...NO!" or the alternative to dumpster diving of "table grazing" where he finishes off what others have left in their plate.

A popular saying in these parts is, "Same, same...but different" Now that probably summarizes my outlook on life. We are all the same, but we are also all different.

The second missing guy shows up. Fernando and Victor are from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on a short holiday from their jobs working for a tobacco company. The five of us pile into a tuk-tuk built for four.

April 17, 1975 was my 12th birthday. On this same day, in Phnom Penh, the Khemer Rouge, led by Pol Pot, invaded this city, and began a reign of terror that traumatized the country for the next 5 years. 30 years after that and the country is still suffering.

We started our day by stopping at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum where thousands were tortured and murdered. It was a very sobering stop. Walking through the rooms where the men, women and children were kept sent a chill through me. I could feel their screams in the core of my body.

After that we headed out of town to the Killing Fields where tens of thousands were murdered and buried for what can only be described as a senseless act. How could someone, or some people, justify doing this to their own countrymen?

Back in Phnom Penh and we stop for a late lunch. The others take the tuk-tuk back to the hostel while I wander around a few temples and pray for the tortured souls.

Back at the hostel and I repack my backpack. It was laundry day. My dirty clothes got washed for free by the hostel staff. I then take a walk and stop for some supper and ice cream. I need to decide whether I take the bus to Seim Reap or a boat. The travel time is similar. I've been receiving conflicting information as to which is better. The bus is only $7 while the boat is $35.

PS. Sorry about the spelling and grammar mistakes. #1-Typing on an iPad is like sending a text message. The words are completed automatically as you type. Sometimes I miss seeing that the wrong word is entered and also miss seeing the errors when I proof the entry. #2-I am also noticing that I am writing like I am speaking these days. In a broken english like the locals and the travelers from countries where English is not their mother tongue. #3-I am also paying catch-up with these entries and it's been a very exhausting few days in Cambodia. More on that in a future entry.
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