Our welcoming to Cambodia came by boat after a six hour river trip from the Mekong Delta in Vietnam to the shores of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia as well as a major spot in local history of the atrocities committed by the Khmer Rouge and their leader Polpot. As always, being the largest city in a developing country means hearing noises we’ve never heard, smells that we never wish to smell again, and all of its charms. We took three days to explore the city, taking time at the Royal Palace, local markets, and the infamous S-21 prison of the Khmer Rouge regime.
One Cambodian culinary tradition is amok, where curry is steamed in banana leaves for a unique, and mouth-watering flavor
Coconut ice cream treat
Street style barbershop
One of the more humble buildings residing at the Royal Palace
S-21, a school turned makeshift prison where the Khmer Rouge sent at least 17,000 of its own people for prosecution to have only 12 come out, houses many atrocities from the government and is truly a modern example of just how little the rest of the world wanted to be involved after the Vietnam War. There is plenty of information on the web and a handful of books that examine how and why the Khmer Rouge decided to murder one fourth of their population, and I definitely encourage everyone to educate themselves on this horrible and sad history. We were both amazed that this topic is barely mentioned or thought in the western hemisphere. Regardless, I am not going to attempt that kind of explanation but rather how after visiting the prison and reading a fraction of available material, there is no way to understand how the people of Cambodia feel about their own history. Instead, it only brought more respect and amazement of how after such a horrible regime, Cambodian people are consciously grateful for everything they have and are happy to move past their history.
Some of the countless faces that passed through this terrible place
Outside of the National Museum where many statues from Angkor Wat live for safe keeping