The day in Phnom Penh was split into two very different halves. The first was a tour of the Royal Palace, The Silver Pagoda and the National Museum: Starting with a Rickshaw (or cyclo) ride through the streets of Phnom Penh
The Silver Pagoda which is so called due to the solid silver floor tiles was a bit of a let down as they had covered the entire floor with carpets so one had to use ones imagination ! So various stupas a rather lovely Buddha Flower and the tree from which it came, Buddha’s rather oversized footprint and a white elephant.
A quick rickshaw dash across town followed by a visit to the National Museum which contained a fine selection of statues and carvings from the Ankor Temples etc
After lunch back at the boat we were driven to one of the most notorious “Killing Fields” where around 20,000 victims were massacred and buried in mass graves under the Pol Pot and Khmer Rouge regime. Not for the squeamish so brace yourselves !!
The back into town to the Genocide Museum housed in the infamous Tuol Sleng Prison which was housed in a converted school and was where many thousands of unfortunates were imprisoned, tortured and them shipped off to the Killing Fields. 2 million Cambodians were either massacred or died of starvation during the Khmer Rouge Reign of Terror which only came to an end in the late 1970s and didn’t finally collapse until 1997.
So memories are still very “raw” and every family lost members in the purges, and if they survived Pol Pot, many were and still are being maimed and killed by the 40 million land mines that were left behind by the Americans and the rival factions within Cambodia.
When Tuol Sleng prison was finally liberated only 14 people were found alive. One of whom has written his harrowing version of his ordeal “The Survivor” which he sells to tourists and regales them with his tales of torture etc, A remarkable human being !!
A couple of the other residents and a sign about coconuts