Monday, 2 September 2013

I spend nearly a week in Phnom Penh and once again meet many new friends, mainly locals and a few foreigners living there who take me out to different, out of the way places that you just wouldn’t find otherwise.  We visit girly bars, discos full of young Khmer locals, cruise the town on scooters and even stop for some karaoke.

  I take my first tuk-tuk ride out to the shooting range one morning and have a go at the AK47, a very fun gun with basically no recoil considering the size of the rounds, and another big fucken gun (no idea the name of it) that I lay down to use.   This thing is awesome and no coconut is left alive. 

They ask me if I would like to shoot at a live target, a chicken, but I politely decline, there has been enough coconut milk shed today.  You can choose from rocket launchers, grenades and an assortment of other weaponry also, but bring your wallet

In a weird contrast I then head to the Killing Fields, a very sombre, emotional and thought provoking place full of reminders, memories and education of the horrific atrocities that were committed here during the terrible period of the Khmer Rouge.  It is important that these details are not swept under the carpet, they happened and need to serve as a reminder to the world to never let this kind of thing occur again, though sadly that may not be the case. 

 I’m still amazed at how many people are unaware of what actually happened over the years of 1975-1979, I’m no history expert but make it a point to read a lot of books about places I visit, plus what I learn on the ground. 

Nearly 2 million Cambodian’s were brutally tortured and killed over the 4 year period by their own people, as Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge sought to turn the country into an agrarian utopia.  Women and children were not spared, families were torn apart and a youthful nation with limited education was left behind to pick up the pieces of a brutalized country. 

It was a dark and painfully terrible time in the Cambodian people’s history, of mass torture and genocide, yet they have somehow managed to emerge from the other side of such heinous actions without losing themselves in the hate.  They are some of the nicest, genuinely friendly people I have encountered on my travels.

Here are a couple of links if you would like to learn more

 I didn't take any pictures at the killing fields as it just didn't feel right
Views from the tuk-tuk

Local taxi?!

Big f***en gun