We’ve had a grim day in Phnom Penh. The city itself isn’t very nice, but for anyone travelling through Cambodia, the Genocide Museum and Killing Fields are a must see in order to even attempt to understand the tragedy and horror that this country has been through (and is still recovering from).
We started the morning in the Genocide Museum, with an incredibly emotive audiotour depicting the dark years that occurred from beginning to end. If you’re unfamiliar with Pol Pot’s regime and the genocide which occurred during it, I’d suggest doing a little research. A particularly poignant and emotive moment for me was hearing the forced confession of an Australian prisoner (after which he was executed); years later, his brother read this in court. Officers always pushed for prisoners to incriminate others in their confessions; the Australian named fictional Western characters which the officers would not recognise, and finished with a coded message of love for his mother Esther, who he named S. Tar in the confession. We listened to his brothers voice crack at the hearing, thankful at least that his brother managed to keep his sense of humour until the very end.
To say I had an enjoyable day wouldn’t be true, but it was interesting and necessary. The regine was in power for less than 4 years, and murdered up to a quarter of the population of Cambodia. The shocking fact, for me, is that this happened within my parents lifetime. It really was not long ago, and offers a gritty reminder of the dangers that such dictatorships can pose if left to their own twisted devices, unchallenged.
It didn’t seem appropriate to take photos within the museum nor fields, so the only photos I have from the day are from the glorious Vegan lunch we had.
The tuk-tuk service here is absolutely insane. Unlike most other cities we’ve been to, where tuk-tuks primarily consist of little wooden boxes strapped to the back of rusty scooters, the tuk-tuks here are literally purpose made miniature cars. They have number plates, service reports pinned proudly inside them, and they’re all booked via apps just like Uber! Amazing, we love them. I actually think they would do well somewhere like London; they’re small and nippy, and much cheaper than ordering a car. Plus, because they’re booked via apps, their prices are regulated and stated before the journey even begins, so there’s no way (it seems) they can rip us off.
We’re at the bus station (again) waiting for our bus to Battambang; an apparently lovely little city with lots of French influence.