Tuesday, 16 July 2013
The Killing Fields!
Today was our first full day in Phnom Penh. We all met on the roof terrace of our hostel at 9am to have breakfast. Most of us had lemon and sugar pancakes. (Ed. Not me! Lemon on anything is just wrong!) The morning was spent organising and planning for the days and actually for the weeks ahead. Some had to purchase a mobile phone to use in country, some had to research transport, some R & R activities and some had to try and contact our project host.
At 12pm we then travelled in tuk-tuks to the killing fields to learn more about Cambodian’s history. We each had our own headset with a man explaining what happened and what it was like at the time. We all walked around at our own pace. It was an emotional and depressing experience as we saw exactly where they were all buried and some of the skulls of the victims killed were arranged in a memorial building at the site. Clothes that they wore had also been collected and were gathered in a glass box for us to see. We also saw the tree where babies had been killed by being swung by their feet and bashed against it. I think most of us thought the area would be massive with just empty fields; however it turned out to be quite small with lots of trees surrounding each area. This was a worthwhile experience for us all and we all feel closer to the people of Cambodia knowing how they suffered in the hands of Pol Pot...the man that was to blame for everything.
After we had all finished walking around, we went back to the hostel in tuk-tuks and had lunch. By this time it was already 4pm. Whilst waiting for our food, some people played card games whilst others searched for more accommodation places or booked transport.
We were going to go to the markets but it started to chuck it down with rain (apparently there is a short storm every day at around 5pm) (Ed. today’s rain was on and off till 9.00 pm), so we then decided to go out later at 7pm and walk along the river in Phnom Penh to find a restaurant that we would be able to eat in. Before finding a restaurant we got stopped by a few7 year old boys wanting to sell us bracelets, so most of us brought bracelets from them. (Ed. The boys had heard every excuse possible as to why the girls didn’t want to buy bracelets...they were not taking ‘no’ for an answer...Bless them!)
It turned out to be harder than we thought to find a place for all 17 of us to eat, so some people went to a curry restaurant and others to the next door restaurant. Everyone seemed to be absolutely exhausted when we got back to the hostel so we all went straight to bed.