Mmm nom nom nom phnom penh

Just a note, we are trying to figure out a way to get photos to the blog. Our app keeps crashing so we might set up a google photo site and just out the link on the blog. It’s messy, but much less time consuming on our part. Anyhoo…

We arrived in Phnom Penh much more easily than we did to Siam Reap. Our little bus picked us up at 7am and supplied us with free water and a crazy jam filled pastry dish. Noony tried it and told me to tell you that it was good. On the five hour journey we passed exactly the same scenery; shacks, shanty towns and downright depravity. The mini bus driver enjoyed spending his time on the wrong side of the road after overtaking every car in his path. Rather than turn back he would happily force oncoming motorcyclists onto the dirt as, in a head-on road fight, the bus would win. Sitting behind the driver didn’t help and squeaking at every near missed did nothing to improve my cool credentials on the bus. The Cambodian couple behind felt the need to shout every part of their conversation, really belt it out. Not only that they felt the need to hold onto our seats so Noony’s hair was trapped in the man’s overhand grasp of the headrest and the woman held into the side, her fingernails digging in to my side. Their lack of awareness of personal space was apparent especially when they started stroking our ears.

When we arrived in Phnom Penh a huge mass of men hurtled towards the bus. They wouldn’t let us off the bus step until we had agreed to use them as a tuktuk. Little did they know, a man was standing at the back with a sign with Noony’s full name on (a worker at the last hostel said he would call his friend to personally take us to the hostel, good lad). Noony parted them like the Red Sea with a loud imperative and we were taken to the aptly named ‘Me Mates Place’.

Checking in felt a bit similar to the scam hostel, them asking many questions then agreeing with what we said then looking down and fidgeting. Finally after fifteen minutes of waiting, they told us that the room would be ready in half an hour. Lovely. We sat down at the spacious diner booth and looked at the huge A3 laminated menu. The music was absolutely good. Jeff Buckley, Van Morrison, Beach Boys, Postal Service. It has been the best music so far compared to Asian love songs with midi synth arrangements of the last hostel. When we finally got to our room, we were pleasantly surprised. But again, you don’t really care about the room. Needless to say, it was good.

The next morning our driver took us to the Killing fields. Bones and teeth were scattered along the paths, brought up with each rainfall. Most of the buildings were torn down after the discovery so signs were put in its place. One tree had a sign that said that this tree was used to kill babies by hitting them against it. A painting in the museum showed soldiers use them as clay pigeons. 129 mass graves uncovered different stories. Teachers, professors, intellectuals, children, babies. A glass tower was erected with 5000 cracked skulls placed inside. Didn’t take any photos today. Didn’t seem right. It was very hard to imagine what it was like and Noony and I were left wondering how and why and every other question. It wasn’t until we went to S-21, the old Khmer prison, that everything started to sink in.

S-21 used to be a school until education was abolished under Pol Pot’s regime. The classrooms were turned into prison cells, mostly single cells. The original bed, chain and rusted iron foot cuffs remained in each room alongside a single photo on the wall of the inmates as they were found, tied to the bed and brutally murdered. There was barbed wire alongside the top balcony to stop the prisoners committing suicide. Methods of torture were simple and brutal. 20,000 people from all backgrounds came to S-21. Seven survived. They only survived as they could carve and replicate Pol Pots head on a bust. Individual portrait photos of thousands of inmates were stuck up behind glass panels, some children as young as three or four.

Anyway, enough lols, here’s Noony.

After an emotional day we went back to the hostel for a bit and then went to dinner to a lovely restaurant called the Titanic. Very plush place on the river front with fountains and women dressed in silk and the food was yummy. There was a little lizard on the ledge that joined us for dinner. We fed him rice and parmesan cheese and he licked the soy sauce bottle. He was very cute.

Today, we went for a long walk and went up the one hill in Phnom Penh with a temple at the top called Wat Phnom which is what the city is named after. There is a story behind why it is called this but it would probably be a better read and more accurate on wikipedia.

Phnom Penh has lived up to expectations. It is dirty, busy and pretty much like any other city in the world. We considered staying longer but I am not in love with the city, plus I think our hostel has bed bugs… Not fun. So tomorrow (Thursday 4th) we leave on a bus for Sihanoukville on the coast of Cambodia. There is not much to see there apart from beaches, wildlife, and Cambodian islands… which is nice. We are hoping the weather picks up a bit though as it is surprisingly cool at the moment, only a high of 29 degrees today and about 22 – 25 at night. It’s warm but not swimming weather yet.

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. judy watts
    Nov 04, 2010 @ 03:32:03

    I have just read your news up to the 3rd Nov. What an adventure you are both having. Really can’t wait to see the pictures. Love Judy W

    Reply

    • antonia
      Nov 27, 2010 @ 06:27:23

      hello how are u can u tell mrs collings that i said hi because i dont see her in fridays
      love antonia c.

      Reply

      • andyperryer
        Dec 09, 2010 @ 12:42:49

        Antonia. Hello. Unfortunately I no longer work at two mile school. So that is why I am on the other side of the world. If I do see her in Asia I will say hello. Mr P.

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