Phnom Penh – the sad part

10 02 2010

Today we started the day early and went to the biggest market in town – Psar Tuol Tom Pong or The Russian Market.  This is a local market for local people, selling things that the local people need like food and groceries, scooter parts, stationary, baby clothes and the like and then they throw in some tourist stalls with silk, statues, watches and jewelry.

We came equipped with a map and saw that they had food in the middle of the market.  We hadn’t had any breakfast so we went straight for the food section thinking that this would be a nice, cozy food court – something that reminded of a western mall.  Of course we were dead wrong.  The food section contained butchers with whole chickens, chopped down pork and whole fish.  Since we were early the sellers were still chopping away and cleaning their products so you had to watch out not to get covered in guts and blood – it reminded me a bit of my days at the Húsavík slaughterhouse.

After some search we found where they were offering cooked food and grabbed delicious waffles for breakfast.  We walked through the maze of stalls for a couple of hours but didn’t see anything that we fancied carrying in our bags for the next month.  We therefore headed towards the horrific Tuol Sleng or S-21 prison turned into a genocide museum.

Tuol Sleng was a high school until the Khmer Rouge, under Pol Pot, turned it into the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21).  The majority of the victims buried in The Killing Fields were prisoners at Tuol Sleng.  After the fall of the Khmer Rouge in 1979 it was made into a genocide museum, displaying the horrific things that went on during the Khmer Rouge regime.  The museum stands as a constant reminder of the past in the hope that those things can never happen again.

The museum hasn’t been changed much since it served as a torture prison and we were able to walk around the whole site.  The prison cells still had the original beds, chains and even blood stains on the floors and ceilings.  The torture instrument were still present and signs and pictures showed how they were used.  This museum leaves no one untouched and seeing the pictures of the victims made it all so real – I don’t think any other place I’ve been to has given me such negative vibes as S-21.  It is impossible to understand how and why such things can happen – and not that long ago.

We had decided to stay in Phnom Penh until we can enter Vietnam on the 13th of February but changed our minds and are now going to Sihanoukville in the morning where we will have beaches and relaxation again.  We are also trying to set up our route so that the Chinese new year on the 14th won’t hinder us too much.

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2 responses

15 03 2010
Nína

Stórkostleg lýsing á markaðinum, mjög skemmtileg.
:-D

Sáum pyntingarsafn í San Marino 2003. Það voru tól frá miðöldum og samt var óþægilegt að vera þar. Það er svo stutt síðan þetta gerðist. Óhuggnanlegra fyrir vikið. Hefur væntanlega verið óþægileg upplifun.

Kv. Nína Brá

20 07 2012
Cambodia

When you look the butcher girl on the pic..
you prefer forget that all meat in restaurant come from this kind of shop!

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