Fire Cloud...
An irregular marking on the exterior of Native American pottery: usually resulting from burning fuel coming in direct contact with the vessel during firing

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Buddha Tree

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh is the capital city of Cambodia. There are construction cranes and big buildings on both sides of the river. Investment is finding a way.



I lander here once in 1967. I only remember a really muddy airstrip with metal grating. At the time I had no idea it was the Capital of Cambodia. Some of these pictures show a more rural way of life. The rice paddies stretch back about a half mile from the Mekong, then you hit a treeline. There's no sign of roads or electrical wires until you approach the big city.


We'll be spending our 45th anniversary in Siem Reap. So far we see no mosquitoes and we're eating and drinking all the local stuff with no adverse results.



Bennett says the "strange fruit" i put in the last blog is called  rambutan,.  In Thai it's called "ngoh".  That word is also used pejoratively to describe people like Mrs. Phred that have kinky hair and darker skin.


We get a cyclo ride to the Palace of the Cambodian King and a museum of antiquities.


These flowers grow on the trunk of the Buddha tree. Our guide tells us that Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment and died under a tree like this.I think



I don't have time to wait for enlightenment so I'll just take a few pictures and keep moving....


Our guide was seven when Pol Pot emptied out the city and sent all the people to the country to become rice farmers. He lost 12 members of his family and only has one relative left. We run the numbers and figure he is about the same age as our son.


A third of the population of Cambodia was exterminated during the four years after 1975 that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge rant the country. We go to Security Centre 21, which was one of several hundred torture centres where confessions were extracted before those millions who confessed to being CIA or KGB were  sent to the killing fields.



Each person who confessed after brutal torture turned in everyone he knew and they, in turn, did the same until over 2,000,000 were killed and buried in mass graves.


Our guide was seven. He says that anyone younger was killed because they were too young to be useful and those older than 12 were also killed because their brains were too set in their ways. He is a little bald guy. Somehow he has acquired a laptop and I spend several hours with him showing him how to make bookmarks and download pictures about the Mekong for his tourist lectures.



The suspects were tortured 16 hours a day until they confessed and implicated everyone they ever knew. Some tried to commit suicide by taking a header from the third floor or hanging themselves in the bathroom. To prevent this barbed wire was installed over the balconies and the prisoners were given ammunition boxes to defecate and urinate into.


Our guide had the job of emptying the boxes at age seven. He says the the solids were used in the garden and the "smelly" liquids were emptied into a large urn. When prisoners fainted from the torture they were revived by being dunked into the urn.


Cambodian fried chicken and free WiFI.


Pol Pot was reported to be a nice Buddhist boy who would never hurt a fly. However, the nature of man can be strangely plastic regardless of which, if any, religion is involved  Pol Pot was either insane or opeatring under the insane delusion that reducing the population from 8 million to 1 million and making them all farmers would be a good thing.


This is Security Center 21, where skulls were stored and confessions were extracted.


Farmers near the memorial at one of the Killing Fields.We we human teeth on the ground as we walk around the trails at the memorial.

1 comment:

  1. we loved phnom penh....is it still chaotic?...the French colonial section was neat...did you see the bats fly out at night...
    Do you also go to Angkor Wat? still loving the pictures...and in case I forget...Have a great 45th..
    SIL

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