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Temples after torture

Here we are in Siem Reap, ensconced in the Tokyo Guesthouse which has a crocodile pit next to it. We can look out our window and see about 25 crocs lazing about, occasionally grumbling but generally not doing much. Which is good.

The other day we went to Toul Sleng and the killing fields at Choeung Ek, just outside Phnom Penh. Toul Sleng was a high school until the Khmer Rouge took control of Cambodia, and they turned it into a prison/interrogation (torture) centre. Going there was a sobering experience to say the least. They have a gallery of the thousands of people interred there (about 17000 people all up). All bar 7 died in the place. That and the killing fields… well, I just don’t have the words to describe what it’s like and think of the absolute evil the Khmer Rouge visited on their fellow countryfolk. Men, women and kids of all ages, none were spared. It made me wonder what kind of threat they saw in pre-teen children and grandmothers. In one of the rooms at Toul Sleng, displayed with some examples of torture implements, were two damaged busts of Pol Pot. I had to fight a strong urge to kick them.

Siem Reap, fortunately, will provide a far more positive vibe. Temples and monuments of Hindu and Buddhist nature, the oldest being built in around 900AD, jungle growing around and occasionally through them. We’ve not seen Angkor Wat yet, today we had a look at Prasat Kravan, Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm. Amazing majestic structures built long long ago.

It kinda saddens me to think that I’m flying out of this region in 9 days. But I do miss home as well.

Hope everyone is doing well, I’ll be seeing some of you all in a few weeks.

Karsoe/Paul C.

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