Phnom Penh

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We are leaving Siem Reap and Angkor Wat — and will take a bus to Phnom Penh.

The country side is filled with homes and farms.

The “feel” of this country is very different from that of Japan — I insert a video from our metro-train ride to the Asoka Airport in Japan.

Japan and Cambodia are very different — but all countries harbor darkness within their histories. We will be visiting the Cambodia Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh.


First, I look at the cricket-like insects for sale where the bus takes a rest stop.
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I buy a bag of bugs — cost: about a dollar.

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Bugs!

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I eat them on the bus. The bugs were fried with delicious seasonings — probably pepper and turmeric.

Karen eats lunch and I inspect the hot sauce — we are sharing a plate of chicken/vegetables/rice because the bugs were surprisingly tasty and filling for me. It is hot in Cambodia.

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Our hotel in Phnom Penh has a beautiful swimming pool.

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We are at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (also known as the Cambodian Genocide Museum). It was a high school that the Khmer Rouge turned into a torture, interrogation, and execution center in 1975. It was known as Security Prison 21 (S-21), one of over 150 execution centers.

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The authorities at the prison kept careful records — photographing each inmate upon arrival.

Of the 14,000 prisoners, there were only seven survivors.

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Survivors

After Vietnamese troops captured Phnom Penh in 1979, two Vietnamese journalists discovered S-21, photographed scenes of execution and torture, and interviewed the survivors.

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This guy was a Khmer Rouge soldier, probably innocent of crimes. He has no idea that he will be tortured, forced to confess to espionage, and executed.

The cells

S-21 was merely one place associated with the Cambodian genocide of 1975-1979. When it ended in 1979, about a million Cambodians, one quarter of the population, had died.

My blog pertains to travel, meditation, mysticism, and backpacking. People who come to Phnom Penh typically visit S-21 and Choeung Ek, known as “the Killing Fields.” These visits can affect your meditation — you must acknowlegage the human capacity for evil.

My next blog continues portraying our visit to S-21.

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