The Killing Fields of Phnom Penh





This morning I walked to the museum. It was pretty boring. I walked back in the sweltering heat and got straight in the pool at the hostel. Most people were in there, the pool surrounded by beer towers. I didn't refuse an offered glass. There's not much else to tell here, although there were a few characters that made the afternoon rather entertaining. Namely one girl who was so drunk by about 1pm in the afternoon, it was embarrassing. She was the gossip for most of the day and ended up sleeping with one of the guys in a 20 bed dorm room. Which was the gossip for the next day.


I bumped into one of the guys I'd met on the Mekong Delta tour and he was going to the Killing Fields the next day with another guy and girl he'd met in the dorm room, so I joined them. It really was a harrowing experience. At the entrance you are given an audio guide, which not only explains what happened but also has accounts told by people who had survived the horrors here. I don't want to talk too much about this, out of respect. But on entrance to the fields there is a relic dedicated to those who died, and it contains the skulls of hundreds of people. Inside, the skulls are labeled by what weapon killed them and arranged on shelves according to age. What's worth mentioning is that bullets were expensive at that time and so other weapons were used. Another horrific sight was the killing tree. I can't bring myself to explain why it's called that but I encourage people to read about what happened during this time, which shockingly was only in the 70's. Seeing signs that said 'Don't step on bone', really speaks for itself. After this we went to S-21. During the ride there, not one of us said a word to one another. There are no words that have any worth. S-21 was just as upsetting. It was a former school that was turned into a torture camp. We returned to the hostel with heavy hearts.

We went to a small local eatery for some food and then had a walk around, looking for the night market. We didn't find it but came across a lit up pagoda which we walked around for a while. We found a restaurant/bar place and sat down for a drink. It was a strange atmosphere, a bit like a wedding reception as there was a dance floor but also people sat at tables. After a beer we all got up to dance. We were 3 girls and 3 guys and the locals seemed to love us. All the girls crowded round the girls and showed us how to dance the Cambodian way. I couldn't do this hand twirly thing so one woman kept bending my fingers right back and showing me. It hurt and after about 10 minutes of her doing this I was getting annoyed. i just wanted to dance my own way. We tried to back off a bit but they kept following us aroud the dance floor. One of the guys went to the toilet and when he came back he said we should go now! When we asked why he said all the men in the toilet were looking at each other's private bits. We walked out quickly, forgetting to pay. They came down the street after us, and we paid before getting into a tuk-tuk and laughing all the way home.

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