Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Genocide and Goodbye

On my last day with the girls, in Phnom Penh, we made the fantastic decision to visit the Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum before our emotional farewell. It was the only time we had to do it, but it was still poorly timed. 

The Killing Fields were not how I'd foreseen them in my overactive, possibly Tolkien-inspired imagination. The barren wasteland swirling with mist, mud pools popping and splattering crosses sticking out of the bloody earth was replaced by a pleasant green stretch of land dotted with trees and shrubs. The only thing that tells you this will be a sombre experience is the towering shrine in the centre, consisting of 17 levels, each one filled with human skulls. 

The Khmer Rouge genocide was something I barely knew anything about, so I was really keen to learn the history. I'm so glad I did it, but it was beyond horrific. Three million people killed for nothing. 

The Genocide Museum, set in a former high school that became a prison known as S-21, was just as harrowing. But I can't recommend them enough. Just to get a feel for what the Cambodian people went through, just forty years ago. And it explains why there's such a big gap in the ages of people you see on the street. 

You can do both within three or four hours, and a tuk-tuk driver will take you to both and back to your hostel for around US$20. 

Then, with our hearts in our socks, I said goodbye to Laura and Nat after an amazing month. We saw so many unforgettable things, and I'm so glad they got to see a bit of my bizarre reality travelling the world. Travelling alone has its perks, and I still believe is the best way to see the world, but it was lovely to have two of my best friends with me. What a month. 

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