The Cambodian Experience

The bus arrives at Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. We are not going to stay here long; we only have a day to look around. We decide to spend that day sightseeing. Some of us want to visit the night market while others want to visit the Cambodian genocide museum. After visiting the Vietnam war museum, it dawned on me that experiencing a country’s historic scars can led to a very good understanding of the country’s present. Some would say this applies to humans too. For that reason, me and couple of others decide to go to the genocide museum.

There is no guide to show you around (at least physically) that is why we decide to wear the “electronic guide” which will unravel the story around us through the headphones. The Khmer rouge regime was responsible for this atrocity that led to the murder of nearly 2 million Cambodians. This communist regime was responsible for imprisoning thousands of people in the premises we are seeing around us. Once a quiet Cambodian school, this place was then serving the mental and physical torture of anyone who tried to withstand the leader of the regime, Pol Pot. The ways and reasons for which people were imprisoned were very reminiscent of those that sent millions of Russians to the Soviet Gulags. At times, even wearing glasses could get you into trouble as it was viewed as a sign of “intellectualism” and thus a potential threat to the regime. The torture devices used as well as the dark tiny cells located there were all deeply inhumane and atrocious. Nevertheless, the whole experience was a good reminder of why knowing certain historical nuances can be extremely beneficial to avoiding repeating similar atrocities in the future.

After this shocking experience, we want to take it easier for the rest of the day. For lunch, we have the local food known as Amok. It is very similar to chicken curry, but it has some extra lentils and spicies in it. In the evening, we start heading towards the night market. The was to the market is very beautiful since we are walking right next to the sea. The night market itself is not something special but there is a lot of cheap clothing to buy. The dessert is also quite tasty! Back at the hotel, we are getting ready for our next destination, Koh Rong Island.

Phnom Penh seaside path
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