Evans - What a drastic change Phnom Penh is compared to Siem Reap. Personally, I enjoyed the latter much more. That's not to say that Phnom Penh didn't have it's own unique sites to see, and things to do. Unfortunately though, the sites weren't really joyous. All in all, they were actually quite heart-wrenching and disturbing. The two places we went to during our stay here were the Killing Fields, followed the next day by the Torture Museum, or S21 as they call it. The Killing Fields was more than enough to make me feel sick to my stomache. The first thing you see as you enter through the archway at the entrance, is a tall shrine or monument built for the people that were victims of this insane period of time. The shrine itself looks rather beautiful and majestic; it's what's inside that turns the stomache. Around 17 tiers high, the whole thing was filled with the bones of the victims that were excavated there. Tier one, which was a platform on the ground, had their tattered and torn clothing. The majority of the others, which I think was tier 2-12 or 15, had skulls placed on them according to age and sex. There were 8800 human skulls in the shrine altogether. It was absolutely horrible to think that all these people's lives were ended in such an unnecessary way. As we made our way around the grounds, there were massive holes that had been dug up, which had all contained the corpses and remains of those who were brutally murdered there. 13 of these craters could be seen everywhere the eye could see. There were still areas where you could see bones sticking just above the surface of the ground. By this point, I think it's needless to say that I definitely wasn't feeling all too well inside. Walking around the the border of the Killing Fields, you'd notice that in the back it's virtually untouched and still a site to behold. Partial flooding had taken place, and lillies were everything. Unfortunately again, since it's overgrown, they haven't tried to excavate it yet, meaning half of the victims remains may never be uncovered.
Now, I honestly wish I could say this next part would be a little more pleasing to read, but that would be a full blown lie. S21, which used to be a regular high school for the students living in the area, was turned into a prison. Where the Khmer Rouge soldiers would take prisoners to be interrogated, tortured, and even killed. I think the number was around 17,000 for this place alone. They used guns, blunt objects, swords and knives, along with many others. One that stuck in my mind, was how they turned the handbars used by the students into a torture device. They'd hang the prisoner by their feet with their hands tied behind their backs, and interrogate them until they lost conciousness. They would then duck the victims head into a bucket of water, filled with another substance that was used mainly for fertilizer to help them quickly regain conciousness just so they could start all over again. It didn't matter what age you were either. Husbands and wives, their children, even babies were brought here. All of them met the same gruesome end.
I could probably continue on this topic, but I'd rather do my best not to think about it further. Other than say the scary part about it, is that it only happened three decades ago; 1975-1979. Just search the name Pol Pot on google, I'm sure it wouldn't be too hard to find, if you actually want to know more.