inconsistent news from southeast asia

Cambodia-Travelogue  |  Travel time: September 2005 - March 2006  |  by Matthew Audley

CAMBODIA, Tuol Sleng (S-21) Genocide Museum

First of all, I must say that Phnom Penh is absolutely fantastic. As soon as we crossed the border the weather improved drastically (it's bloody hot) and the people are much friendlier. People still harass us to give them money, but they're much more gracious about it. The city is beautiful, too.

I think it's a wedding.

I think it's a wedding.

With all that in mind, we chose to spend our first day going to see the former Khmer Rouge prison in town, formerly known as S-21. Must have been feeling too happy.

The prison is now known as the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, but the facility, formerly a highschool, was left pretty much as is, with the addition of many photographs and some explanatory material. We arrived in time to see the hour long documentary, but i didn't find it told me too much about the context, instead focusing on individual tragedies. I'm reading a book that's much more informative now.

The museum was another exhausting, upsetting affair, but again well worth doing. The whole place made my hair stand on end and I found myself taking a lot of pictures despite the fact that I wasn't convinced it wasn't in poor taste.

If you don't know anything about the Khmer Rouge years here, you'll have to look it up. Suffice it to say that S-21 served as a detention and interrogation centre for some 60,000 people, only seven of whom survived the ordeal. Perhaps the fact that the genocide here is in the not so distant past made the museum that much more potent.

Lately, we haven't been doing much at all. Phnom Penh is highly conducive to such activity. However, I WAS ATTACKED BY A MONKEY on Dec. 5. It's not nearly as funny as it sounds. It grabbed my leg and wouldn't let go. Then my urging him to do so made him bite me. It's a damn lucky thing he didn't break the skin. I hear monkey bites are a great way to get rabies. Here are some much friendlier animals we've been hanging out with.

yeah, i still haven't shaved.  oh well.

yeah, i still haven't shaved. oh well.

A cute puppy. CUTE!

A cute puppy. CUTE!

This is the independence monument.  Okay, it's a guy washing the floor around the monument - the monument isn't as interesting.

This is the independence monument. Okay, it's a guy washing the floor around the monument - the monument isn't as interesting.

© Matthew Audley, 2005
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The trip
 
Description:
Leaving for bangkok on Sept. 12. Where we go from there is anyone's guess. Hoping to see Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos. Be back in six months or so if everything goes well. There really isn't much of a route planned - we'll see what happens.
Details:
Start of journey: Sep 12, 2005
Duration: 6 months
End of journey: Mar 19, 2006
Travelled countries: Thailand
Canada
Laos
Vietnam
Cambodia
Southeastern Asia
Malaysia
The Author
 
Matthew Audley is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 13 years.
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