Phnom Penh Day 2

Continued from Phnom Penh Day 1.

Today is our only full day in Phnom Penh, so we are going to make it count.


Breakfast was included. Cool.


Hmm, cheerleading in the old days?


Built in bird cage window at our hotel lobby. This was cool. Notice the wood pillars are in the same style as the stone pillars at Angkor.


Phnom Penh, like Siem Reap, was more expensive than we thought. For such a poor country as Cambodia, these two cities are expensive. I would say on par with Bangkok as far as transportation and food. It costs $30 a day to rent a tuk tuk. Instead we opted to pay for individual trips, which costs anywhere between $2 to $4.


Independence Monument. Doesn’t look quite as impressive during the day. I prefer phallic symbols to glow in the dark.


For such a poor country, the roads here are swarming with Land Rovers.


And the rest are Toyotas and Lexuses.


Some sort of protest. Some woman was very enthusiastically yelling into a loud speaker.


And some white tourist was very enthusiastically recording a video of it.


The royal palace.


The National Museum. When we checked into the hotel last night, we spoke to the hotel proprietor’s daughter, who lives in California and watches the hotel for her mom several months out of the year. She recommended this place to us. Apparently, many of the statues that used to be in Angkor Wat are now here. She also recommended us to eat at one of those training restaurants, because they have tarantulas!!! But, unfortunately, that restaurant is closed for the holiday :-( I really want to eat spiders!


That’s an interesting palm.

There are no photos inside, but I saw almost everyone else snap photos, so I snapped a few as well.


Seriously, I think this is supposed to be the clitoris. I believe these are Hindu and I saw these all over India. Believe they are for fertility? Someone correct me if I am wrong though in the comments section below.


Frankly, this museum wasn’t very impressive. I think we were in and out in about 15 minutes…maybe even less. The temples in Cambodia are impressive, the statues in them, not so much.


There was a guy begging for money at the entrance of the National Museum. He was in a wheel chair and missing part of his legs. I am guessing that he lost his legs in one of the millions of landmines that are buried all along the countrysides of Cambodia. Civil wars suck. :-(


Central Market. We are hoping to find some tarantulas here to eat.


Architecturally a cool building.


Mangosteen!


Immediate food poisoning clams.


When I got off the tuk tuk, I actually scraped my hand against a rusty sign. Good thing I got that super painful tetanus booster shot before coming on this trip.


Lotuses.


The obligatory fake purses.


Hah, creepy.


Shoes and more shoes.


You wonder what happened to all the rollerblades of this world.

We didn’t see anyone selling tarantulas. We even asked a police officer here, and he asked a couple of guys and they all said that there are no tarantulas here. Maybe it’s not tarantula season right now. Sigh. I guess it’s just not meant to be.


Back on the tuk tuk and negotiated another price to go to our next spot.


All the tuk tuk drivers here carry this laminated page, so you can just point to where you want to go. Rocket Launchers!!!!


Arrived at Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, also known as S-21. Just a warning, it gets graphic and really depressing.


This used to be a high school, and when the Khmer Rouge took over, they turned it into a prison to interrogate, torture and execute prisoners. It’s estimated that some 17,000 were imprisoned here and only 7 made it out alive. This is just one of nearly 200 death prisons during Khmer Rouge’s rule. This is essentially the holocaust of Cambodia.


This is a very eerie and spooky place. Just think about all the pain, despair and death that these walls saw.


The graves of the last victims found here when the Khmer Rouge was toppled.


What’s crazy is that it’s right in the center of the city.


We also saw bats here.


Some of the rooms were closed for renovations. I am not sure if “improvement process” is the best term to use here.


Pol Pot, this is the guy who fucked all these people. It’s also amazing how many of the Khmer Rouge leaders were well educated. A good amount of the top leaders went to receive their schooling in France.


They took photos of all the prisoners and kept records of it.


Faces of despair and death.


Like all good communists, the Khmer Rouge decided the intellectuals are some of the first ones to be rounded up and killed, despite many of them being intellectuals themselves.


I keep on posting so many of these photos because it’s the only way to just get a small glimpse of the scope of evil here. More than a million people were murdered by the Khmer Rouge, and yet, so few people in the Western world is aware of that. I for one certainly wasn’t very aware of all the details before coming here and reading up on it since the visit.


These guys are really hated, rightfully so.


Some of the cells were made of wood. RL and I were both most scared of these. There’s just something medieval and hopeless about them. For me, it’s the particular smell of the wood in this room. It smells like my worst nightmare.


These are truly disgusting.


You can see how they were tortured.


Cambodia has been fucked by one regime after another.


The Khmer Rouge emptied the cities, and forced everyone to move to the countryside and essentially do slave labor.


This is probably one of the most horrific and depressing places I’ve ever visited. RL and I both left very upset and heavy. In retrospect, not a good idea as a stop for our honeymoon. But, I felt like it was an important lesson in history and offers perspective in how good we have it now.


Back to find some lunch around our hotel. We are both feeling crappy from that genocide museum visit.


There’s a Blue Pumpkin one block from our hotel.


Our hotel looks pretty sweet.


We walked to the end of the block from our hotel, and just went to a restaurant that had the most people…which was like 5 people. Low season all over here in SE Asia right now.


Enjoying her Fanta. While I was stuck outside the bus yesterday on the way into Phnom Penh, I got RL a Fanta…I waited so long to get back into the bus that I drank her Fanta. This is her revenge, I was thirsty and my drink hadn’t shown up yet.


My manly mango passion fruit smoothie.


There’s an interesting mural across the street.


We’ve been craving other types of food other than Asian food. I bet the other travelers are making fun of us for ordering all Western food.


Yup, ordered a pizza too. But you know what? What I really want is a Pizza Hut pizza.


While we packed at night, it started pouring rain. Just pouring. We’ve been lucky so far in this trip, did not really get caught in any rain yet. It’s supposed to be the beginning of the monsoon season over here in this region. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

To be continued at Saigon Day 1.

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