Phnom Penh, Cambodia
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 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. The guide 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 1.75 to 2.5 million were killed and buried in mass graves. They dunked peoples heads into barrels of excrement and urine. They put fencing on the second floors of the interrogation centers because so many detainees were taking headers onto the concrete below to escape torture.
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. He took ammunition boxes for of excrement out of prisoners cells...
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 now has 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 operating under the insane delusion that reducing the population from 8 million to 5 million and making the remainers all farmers would be a good thing.
This is Security Center 21, where skulls were stored and confessions were extracted.
These are farmers near the memorial at one of the Killing Fields.We find lots of human teeth on the ground as we walk around the trails at the memorial.