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humans sure can be atrocious!

What a day! This was a history lesson that everyone can learn from and the educational benefits for us were amazing and confronting. Overall we don’t regret taking this opportunity to learn more about human behaviour. Here’s a summary of our experience….

When you go to places where smiles are forbidden then you know there isn’t going to be much to get excited about. Yes, we had tuk-tuk rides with our drivers from yesterday (travel tip: once you establish a relationship with a driver, they’ll want to take you anywhere… make sure you negotiate a price before you hop in) and we keep eating marvellous food (last night’s dinner @ 10USD a head was a shared feast of traditional dishes) but a day of immersion in the reality that 1 in every 4 Cambodians was killed during the Khmer Rouge reign certainly sobers you up… lots of heavy sighs and tense jaws; fellow travellers respecting the no talking or photos inside signs in respect.

After a lovely hotel breakfast, we headed straight to Toul Sleng Museum (Security Prison 21). If you’re not thinking torture, pain, suffering and death then you should be… on it’s liberation, only 7 prisoners were alive! This is simply because they were considered useful (could sew, paint and repair). The good news  is 2 of them now campaign for awareness and we got to meet them both… 85 + these are amazing men and Bou Meng (pictured) had a translator as he was deafened by the electric shocks he repeatedly received; Chum  travelled the world once free and stimulated the arrests of the perpetrators left alive. Inside, you are haunted by the photos and stories of the men, women and children who did not survive.

14 kms from town is the Killing Field (one of 30) where prisoners were taken for execution… to save bullets, they were bludgeoned, stabbed, spiked, slashed and macheted instead… at night, all the while listening to revolutionary music to mask the screams. Babies were picked up by the ankles and smacked against a tree  and visitors have placed bracelets on it now to symbolise recognition (pictured). For 6USD you get an audio tour that provides the horrible background detail as you walk around the hollow mounds, bone fragments and victim clothing. The stupa houses many of the skeletal remains and they stare with hollow eyes at we who were helpless then but can make a difference now. To lift the mood we ate at a food house across the road, gently de-briefing before seeking our own quiet reflection for the 30 min ride back to the hotel.

A bit of shopping always lifts the spirits however along with more beautiful food; back at the hotel now getting ready for our 8am mini-bus pick up for the 7 hr drive to Siem Reap.

really glad we know that humans can also do really good things

LFHS – learning and appreciatingblog day 3 blog day 3a blog day 3b blog day3c blog day3e blog day3f blog day3g blog day3d


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