This morning Mr. Ran, a local guide in Phonm Penh and former prisoner of a forced work camp during Pol Pot’s regime, has taught me a bit more about the tragic quite recent past of this country.
On the way to the Killing Fields, where thousands of ‘enemies’ of the Khemer Rouge regime were tortured and killed, Mr. Ran explained how the country allowed that massacre to happen, and said that what I was going to see was going to be quite emotional. Emotional is a short word to describe what you feel when you walk over thousands of corpses, while the rain makes appear new teeth, bones or skulls to the surface of the ground, and when a former prisoner tell you how they were forced to live during the regime, those lucky enough to survive.
After that we visited a former school that was transformed by the regime in the Security Prison 21, where prisoners where retained and tortured until they confessed, some of them dying of starvation, others being killed by the guards, and those who confessed false crimes just to avoid continuing to be tortured were moved by trucks to the killing fields, where they were cruelty killed.
Still now people is not allowed to talk freely on the streets against it.
After such a sad morning, and under 33 degrees and 70% of humidity, I headed to the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda. Amazing architecture and very nice visit.
To finish the day, and to say goodbye to the capital and start to move to more rural areas of Cambodia, I went to a nice dinner place by the river, where I had the chance to see a traditional dance.
Tomorrow I have a 10 hours trip by bus to get to Central Cambodia, to Siem Reap, where I will be staying some days to have the chance to visit the nearby Angkor Wat temples, the highlight of this trip.