Sunday, January 19, 2014

Day 9 - Cambodia: Somber Start, Joyful Finish

There's nothing profound or insightful I can say about the senseless death of nearly 3,000,000 adults and children by the Khmer Rouge regime. I did an audio tour at the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh (Choeung Ek), which is 1 out of the 20,000 mass burial sites where people were brutally executed and buried. The stories of loss, perseverance, and fortitude are unbelievable.

It was depressing, shocking and heart-wrenching. Despite the solemnity, I encourage any traveler to Phnom Penh to visit and pay respect to the genocide memorial and educate yourself on the stark reality of only 34 years ago (when I was born!).

I followed the Killing Fields and Security Prison (S-21) with a visit to the Daughters of Cambodia shop. Employed by woman who have been trafficked into the sex industry, 98% of the girls who work at Daughters never return to the sex industry.

My day then switched from heavy to regal and then light-hearted fun. I visited the National Museum & the Royal Palace with magnificently decorated pagodas, including the Silver Pagoda which houses religious artifacts and shrines, like the Emeral Buddha and a life-sized Buddha covered in 9000+ diamonds and weights nearly 200 pounds (pictures forbidden).

            Silver Pagoda                                National Museum

I wrapped up my day on the riverside where locals were playing Cambodian 'hacky sack.' I watched for awhile and then was invited to play. I'm no pro, but i totally got the side kick down! (the guy in the middle in the video Below is the president of the club and sold me a 'hacky sack.' I might have a new hobby...

On my way to the Royal Palace, I walked with a monk who told me about his studies and thesis and asked me to be friends on Facebook!

NEXT STOP: Last day in Phnom Penh with a Khmer cooking class & ATV Sunset tour through the countryside.

1 comment:

  1. Love catching up with your travels, Jeanne! the video is crazy, such control and they are not even looking at their feet, what?!