Thursday, 6 March 2014

Phnom Pehn

After the ordeal I had on my first night out I am pleased to say that I have seen much more of Cambodia now and it is a wonderful country with some wonderfull people. I spent only three nights in Siem Reap in the end as my two German friends planned to head to Phnom Pehn I decided to head there with them, I didnt see Angkor Wat yet so will go back to Siem Reap to see it before I leave.

To get to Phnom Pehn we took a seven hour bus ride which was all fairly painless and arrived to the "Sunday Guesthouse" we had pre booked.  We were on the top floor which had a cool little lounge area right outside our room and as most people didnt bother climbing the stairs it was basically our own private area for the four nights we stayed. The first day Lenny and I jumped in a tuk tuk to head for the Central Market, unfortunately Jacob had to stay back nursing a dodgy tummy presumably from some off food but we couldn't work out what. We got to the market and it was pretty smart, I managed to pick up a sweet pair of shorts and a new t-shirt for a good price. We had a wonder round for a while looking out for a new ring (something I've wanted for for a while) but still I didn't find a suitable one the right size.  When we were finshed with the market we made our way to The Grand Place, another famous site in the city. It was beautiful, it had a lush green garden and a lot of interesting artifacts to see as well of course as the main temple, sadly we wernt aloud into this one but could still get a good look in. We spent a good hour and a half wondering round before heading back to the guesthouse. On the way back Lenny narrowly avoided losing his phone by someone on a motobike who tried to snatch it out of his hand, it was lucky he was holding it tight.

The following day our destination was the S21-Prison (Genocide Museum) Jacob was still feeling ill so it was just me and Lenny again. We walked there as it wasn't too far and grabbed some lunch from a restaurant outside before going in. Whilst at the restaurant we had the usual kid come in selling bracelets, as a general rule you really should not buy anything from kids on the street as it keeps them out of school but it was the weekend and when he came to our table we started chatting to him. We first asked him if he went to school for which his reply was yes, his English was incredible so we got talking to him more about his school and his family and it was really interesting, he told us on the weekend he sells bracelets and other random bits to pay for school, clothing, books etc so we decided to buy something, I took a bracelet, and Lenny a scarf. The boy (whose name is best pronounced Heya) offered us a chance for some money off for playing rock, paper, scissors which Lenny and I both won, we felt kinda bad so bought him a drink and chatted a whole lot more with him, we asked him what else there is to do around Phenom Pehn and he told us about the Russian Market, we had loads of time before the S21-Museum closed so we decided to check this market out, maybe we would find a ring here. Heya said he would come with us and organised a tuk tuk (one of his friends who would turn out to be our driver for two days) we had a mooch around the market for a while and I came out with the perfect ring, Lenny who also had been looking for one got his too. It was then time to head back to S21 and words cannot describe how horrific this place was, it used to be a school but was turned into a prison under the order of Pol Pot and the Kymer Rouge. I couldn't even begin to imagine what used to happen in this place, around 20,000 people were killed there and only seven people survived, on the way out we saw one of the seven survivors selling books on his story but I was lost for words on what to say to him, I was only able to give a respectful wai and we left feeling very sad.

The following day Jacob was feeling better and we all (Heya included) headed to the "killing fields" one of many sites where mass execution was carried in the most hinious ways. One particular method was to smash small children and babies against a tree. I felt physically ill. We had an audio tour and the stories and the horror told was barbaric, you could still see some bones emerging from the grave sites it was unimaginable to even try and understand. After an emotional visit to the killing fields we were taken to the shooting range where I would have my one and only opportunity to fire some big guns, it was pretty pricey but we got it down a bit, we ended up taking 10 bullets each on three guns, the guns we fired where AK-47, M16 & K57 and they were seriously powerful,  I have never fired anything bigger than a small rifle so it was really exiting, I'm not sure I'll do it again but it was a great once in a lifetime opportunity, my favourite gun I think was the AK. Having satisfied our trigger happy fingertips we headed back again to the Russian Market to buy Heya a gift for his great company, we got to speak to him a lot and wanted to say thank you. We asked him what he needed and he tried very hard to convince us that a new phone would help his schooling but we had something more practical in mind, he then told us he wanted some new shoes to show off when he went back to visit his home province, we thought was a much better option.  He decided on taking a pair that were too big but he told us they were the ones he wanted, we figured it was ok as they would last him longer as he grows into them so we bought them and he was happy. It was then time to drop him off while we had a quick drive around the independence monument amd took a nice pizza on the riverside.

I must say I was quite impressed with Phnom Pehn, sure its heavily polluted, the traffic is chaotic and we encountered another thief but I really enjoyed my time there. Our next stop is Sihanoukville on the beach.

No comments:

Post a comment