We have been here a few days now and are feeling quite comfortable. Once again we have been very happy with our hotel. The room, the pool, and the staff are excellent, as well as the price. Best of all, the location seems to be on the edge of the action. We have been to a number of markets and have walked everywhere---our feet are now getting tired and the tuc-tucs are proving to be cheap. easy, and fun. We are dying to use our bargaining skills, but most things are so cheap it is hard to argue people from $2 to $l. Yes, the American dollar is one of the official currencies and even the ATMs spew them out. In fact, everything is priced in dollars.
We wondered what we were coming to as this alley led to the entrance of the hotel.
The surprise as we entered the hotel
This is truly a city of contrasts. Old, new. Oppulent, poor. Happy, somber. The sights here start at the river front. The over the top Royal Palace dominates the landscape and life of this part of the city. A truly magnificent setting of enormous size.
Front entrance to the Palace
A Monk with his laptop walks by
INSIDE THE WALLS OF THE PALACE THAT ARE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC INCLUDING THE GROUNDS OF THE SILVER PAGODA.
The Silver Pagoda so named because of the silver floor and contains a 4 foot high emerald buddha and life sized statue made of solid gold, adorned with over 2000 diamonds, the largest weighing 25 carats. The floor is covered 5300 silver tiles, each weighing 1.25 kilos. There was obviously a lot of security in this building and no pictures allowed.
On the other side is the legacy of the Khmer Rouge. Beginning in 1975, they came to power and ordered the evacuation of Phnom Penh and sent everyone back to the country. It is hard to imagine this busy, vibrant city being totally empty. Families were broken up and the mass killings started, starting with anyone who reeked in any way of being a professional. This period of history still colour life today and is constantly discussed at every opportunity.
THE KILLING FIELDS
This was a very sad and difficult site to visit. The site was treated like a shrine and was treated with respect by all.
On the edge of the city one of these fields was set. It must be remembered that hundreds of these were set up around the country. At the one we visited it was estimated that 20,000 were killed, but that does not count the children.
There are many others that have not been exhumed and this site is only one of about 40 mass graves on these grounds. It is estimated that each site has about 450 bodies in it.
Every year after the rains bone fragments are washed to the surface. Anything that was uncovered was treated with respect.
This mass grave was specifically for women and children. The tree behind with the memorial bracelets was used to murder babies.
The memorial on the site stands tall and impressive. On examining closer you discover it contains thousands of human skulls and bones.
THE GENOCIDE MUSEUM
A secondary school in the middle of the city was converted to this place where prisoners were detained, interrogated, tortured, and killed. About 12,000 men, women, and children died there between 1975 and 1978.
The School Turned Prison
Much of this site had these displays of men, women and children who were inmates of this prison and who never left alive.
SCENES FROM AROUND THE TOWN
The Independence Monument
In the Market
This truck had all these loads and 12 people scattered on it
The art deco ceiling of the central market was built by the French in 1935.
A stroll down the river front
These orchids grow out of the trunk of a very large tree
NEXT STOP----SIEM REAP AND ANGKOR WAT