Thursday, January 29, 2015

Wednesday -- on to Phnom Penh

Tuesday night we again moored along the Tonle Sap River. We will meet up with the Mekong in Phnom Penh. Wednesday morning there was an excursion to a pagoda inland from the river. I decided to give it a pass, as I was pretty tired from the day before. Dan went and reported that I made a wise decision. They traveled by bullock cart about a mile and the pagoda was not in very good shape. There were murals inside but they were deteriorated. I did catch this shot of them preparing to get on the carts (Dan walked back and moved faster). My last bullock cart ride was in Latihar, Bihar (now Jharkhand), India, in December 1969. I don't need to do it again!!

We sailed down the river during lunch and passed a number of much smaller floating villages, as well as many fishing nets and boats.

Shortly after arrival in Phnom Penh, we headed out to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which commemorates the torture and killing that the Khmer Rouge perpetrated between 1975 and 1979. We had a bit of a kerfuffle trying to get loaded into a small bus. It turned out to be two seats too small even after putting down the aisle jump seats. So we all piled out and waited while a larger bus came.

The museum reminded us of our visit to Auschwitz last September. The horrors that went on are quite unbelievable. Very sobering. The building was formerly a high school and was turned into an interrogation center for people who were then sent out of the city to the Killing Fields.

Graves of the last 14 survivors

Samnang, our guide for all of Phnom Penh

Rules for internees at prison

Pictures of a few of the ones who passed through this prison

A cheerful little girl along the way -- a nice relief 

Barbed wire to foil escape attempts

Cell in classroom divided with bricks
There are only two living survivors of the Khmer Rouge terror. They have both written memoirs and have spots near the exit where they meet visitors and sell their books.

After the museum, we were dropped for an hour or so at the central city market. It was quite disappointing, as it was mainly jewelry, clothing, and manufactured goods, nothing really local except for a few flower shops.

Lots of glittering jewelry -- and watches, too

Fancy dresses

Chinese decorations

Sandwich shop street food

In the evening we were treated to a music and dance show given by some children from a nearby orphanage. They were quite delightful. It was dark and I didn't want to use flash, so these shots aren't great.

Drum and xylophone-type instrument

Girls dance

Boys and girls introducing themselves after dance

Dan went up to speak to the teacher after the show. She is holding the baskets that were used in the fishing dance. I'm sorry it is so grainy. He had these pants and shirt made in Chiang Mai.

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