We had a plan to go to Tuol Sleng Prison then the Killing Fields to learn more about the Khmer Rouge and pay respect to the events that happened here only 30 years ago
. Toul Sleng, once a secondary school in the center of Phnom Pehn, was turned into a Prison after the city was evacuated. After April 1975 it was knows as S-21 where Pol Pot and the KR housed and tortured several thousand people. Peasants, workers, technicians, engineers, doctors, students, monks, foreigners, opposing soldiers and government officials were imprisoned, tortured, then exterminated here and at the Killing Fields (along with their wives and children). When the city was re-taken and the Khmer Rouge ran into the hills, the prison was left "as-is". Photos were taken and everything has been left as it was
- (beds, clothing, makeshift shackles, torture devices and prisoner photos). It is now a Genocide museum where uncensored death scene photos are displayed in the rooms they were photographed in, as is... complete with stains and heavy heavy vibes. It was so
hard to see and imagine that this happened in our lifetime. We did not even make it to the killing fields. That was enough for us to "get it
" and there was really no need to see more. We tried to shake it off by submerging ourselves in a crazy locals market. That is always a great way to lose your thoughts. The smells alone will usually distract you from pretty much anything.
On a happier note, we got wind that in Cambodia, you can shoot a machine gun - wait what? Really? And with about 5 minutes of research, its TRUE. So guess what we did today!? Do they offer badges at Rambo camp?
Back in the city. Well, this was suppose to be 3 days of the Water festival and dragon boat races, but due to the death of Cambodia's long time King, they have been canceled. Good and bad we guess. Crowds will be cut down on more than half in the city, but we have always wanted to be at a major festival in another country....so close. We booked a place ahead for 3 days that is on the edge of the city, quieter with a handy little rooftop bar-lounge we seemed to have to ourselves every day. We met a few "non-traditional" students from Dubai and London - all studying a Masters program in Singapore. Is this the new thing? Masters degrees in Singapore? Like the new ipad and iphone Hostels/Backpacker thing? We were told that the festival got rowdy and it is nice to have an escape and place to watch the madness from above. Now it is just a nice chill place to hang out.