Don't Mess with the Khmer...
Trip Start Sep 04, 2012
47Trip End Aug 02, 2013
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Between 1970 and 1975, Cambodia was undergoing civil war, a sideshow if you like to the war in Vietnam. The communist side of this civil war were known as the 'Khmer Rouge' and, led by an altogether not very nice chap called Pol Pot, conquered the major cities in Cambodia in 1975 and came into power. One of their slogans was 'Better to kill an innocent by mistake than spare an enemy by mistake'!
This atrocity ended when the Vietnamese invaded the country in 1979 and the Khmer Rouge fled. Pol Pot has since died and the head of the S-21 prison has been incarcerated but 4 other main leaders of the Khmer Rouge are currently in detention awaiting trial for crimes against humanity and genocide. Why they've not been found guilty to this day I don't know!! It is estimated that up to 1 in 4 Cambodians were killed during Pol Pot's regime, which, in a population of approximately 8 million, is ALOT!! And the fact that it was Cambodian people killing Cambodian people makes it even harder to fathom!!
The prison still had some features left intact from back in the 70s...blood-stained floors and shackles were still present, and one of the buildings still had barbed wire wrapped around it which was to prevent prisoners committing suicide. Incredibly harrowing. The Killing Fields is now a peaceful memorial but the audio tour tells a story that is equally harrowing
From Phnom Penh we made our way north to Siem Reap, home of the temples of Angkor Thom, and more famously, Angkor Wat. Built by King Suryavarman II (obviously!) in the 12th century, Angkor Wat is the world's largest religious building. Had it not been for the huge section of bloody scaffolding slap bang in the middle, it would have been stunning!! Ha ha! It was still pretty impressive though, even more so as we saw it at sundown. The day after saw us wander round both Angkor Wat and Ankgor Thom in BLISTERINGLY HOT conditions! I know it's cold back home but what I'd give now for a bit of wind and rain ha ha!! Everyone was sweatin like I've never seen!!! Ugly!!
On Monday we had a tour around a silk farm which was bor.......I mean really really interesting! Did you know that a single silk worm produces 400 metres of silk in one continuous thread!!! Oosh!! Then a Japanese-style massage by a couple of blind guys brought our Cambodian journey to a firmly swift end. (It was only AFTER we'd paid a deposit did I notice '7 girls massage parlour' on the map!!). Instead I got an old blind guy with no teeth! Still, a decent massage (apart from when he pulled my ears and toes really hard (!) and Kala's guy was chopping her in the face ha ha!!).
Thailand next. I hope everyone who reads these has a cracking Christmas and I'd just like to wish my now very old sister Donna a very happy 30th birthday!! Have a good one!! X