Phnom Penh--December 28-Jan 2-2006

My next stop on my tour is to go south into Cambodia. This is an interesting country and much different from its neighbors. The people here have been through a lot and much of it has been in recent history during our life times. Cambodia has been occupied numerous times by the French, by Vietnam, etc and with the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot in power an estimated 800,000 to 1.5 million people were executed. They were also bombed by the US and there are still unexploded land mines through out the country.

The people here are very friendly, but for the first time in SE Asia they are very pushy, which I had heard about. Definitely not to the proportions that India was but it is hard to walk out of my Guest House without being asked if I would like a ride on a moto (motorcycle taxi) or a tuk tuk. The driving here is very interesting and after reading an article in the paper that 95% of the motorcycle taxi drivers don't know what a red light means.... it makes you think twice about getting on the road. As I watch the motorcycles I am amazed that there aren't more accidents. Most intersections don't have traffic lights or stop signs and nobody looks when making a turn, they just go and hope for the best. It also makes it quite interesting walking around town and trying to stay alive. .

On my first day of wandering the city I saw the Dara Boat rentals. Not often that I see my name on a sign! It seems that Dara is a common name here because I have seen it on Guest Houses, restaurants, shoe stores, etc.

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Phnom Penh cont.

One of the must sees when in Phnom Penh is the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the Choeung Ek Killing Fields. The museum is an old school that was converted to a prison and interrogation facility called S-21 by the Pol Pot Regime. The people from S-21 were then sent to Choeung Ek to be exterminated and buried in mass graves. The picture below is of the stupa that commemorates those that lost their lives in these fields. Many of the mass graves have been dug up and the skeletons of 8000 plus people are on display inside the stupa.

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Phnom Penh--pt 3

Phnom Penh is also known as a cheap place to do some shopping. It is home to what is called the Russian Market where at one time you could by machine guns, etc. Now it is full of a little of everything including clothing by name brands, very cheap, that are made here in Cambodia. I managed to score 2 pairs of pants and a shirt for $8!

They are also big on eating bugs and they too were for sale at the market. Fried grasshoppers anyone?????

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