The Killing Fields

Trip Start Jan 12, 2013
Trip End Feb 27, 2013

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Flag of Cambodia  ,
Friday, January 25, 2013

Finally made it to the Killing Fields today and man what a bummer that site is!  The tour comes with an audio guide that is excellent.  It is disturbing to realize that this was just one of the over 300 'killing fields' in Cambodia.  This particular site was where the prisoners from Tuol Sleng prison (the place I visited two days ago) were taken to be executed.  They brought them by the truckloads at night, blindfolded.  Immediately upon arrival, the prisoner's names were recorded and then they were led to the edge of the pits.  Made to kneel, the victims' skulls were crushed, cut, or smashed with various tools.  No bullets were used at this site.  Babies were sometimes bashed against a tree.  In order to cover the increasing smell and prevent suspicion from arousing, the bodies were doused with DDT.  This also killed any victims that happened to survive the 'first' execution.  How lovely.  The graves were excavated, the long bones and skulls counted, documented, and preserved.  The rest of the bones were left in the graves because there is just no place to keep the remains of 10,000 people.  The skulls and long bones are kept in memorial at a stupa (see picture).   Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of it all is that as you walk (taking care to stay on the designated path), you walk over/around bits of clothing and bone fragments that continue to work their way to the surface, especially after rains.  Seriously.  Seeing bones jutting from the earth is a sight that resonated within me.  Their clothes too.  There was just so much of both.  

After that awesome outing, I treated myself to a foot massage.  It was great!  So great in fact that I drug Brian back there after dinner and we both got a full body massage and a foot massage.  That's right, I'm a complete glutton.  Really blew my budget today!  Must have spent over $40!  But, it was so worth it because the interactions with the girls working were priceless.  They were teaching us Khmer (the language of Cambodia) and we were teaching them English.  They were so cute flirting with Brian and we were all laughing at his silliness.  He thought he was supposed to completely undress and just have a towel on.  But, how do you ask that?  Well, he undressed, then came out in his towel while holding his underwear.  Pointing to his underwear, he asks if that's okay.  The workers lost it...they were laughing at him so hard and slapping him while yelling, "No! No!"  Oops.  Really was funny.  Ahh, the joys of communication barriers. 

I am ready to move on.  I have seen enough city for a while.  The drive to the Killing Fields was so dusty that  I had to close my eyes and hope my lungs didn't collapse.  It makes sense now why all the Asians where the masks...they have to protect themselves from terrible air!   I am really enjoying getting to know the Cambodian people.  They are such hard workers and yet remain very playful and chipper---no matter the level of poverty.  I am sure there are hardships and smiles aren't always so easy to come by, but what I've experienced has been really nice.  Even those damned tuk-tuk drivers that are really trying to get an extra buck I don't really blame.  Hell, we'd be doing the same thing if in their shoes.  Plus, they are asking for 0.50-2 dollars more; it's not like they're charging 8 times the local rate like they did in Cuba.  The people are quite striking as well.  I think it is mostly a result of their great bone structure.  Very high cheekbones and well-proportioned features give them a refined look.  Both the men and women could be models if they were taller. 
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Carla on

That is crazy and very creepy. It has to be eerie to be there and witness those things.

jware on

It really was. The audio tour tape was quite good. It even had a classical orchestra piece written by a survivor. Chills down your spine. So recent as well. 1975-1979.

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