Phnom Penh – Killing fields and an AK47

(by Renee & Alistair)

After getting our fill of temples and ruins at Angkor, we took a bus to see the capital, Phnom Penh. We opted for the less expensive local bus, and endured a longer than expected hot and sweaty journey surrounded by families with babies (all bodily functionsns included). We staggered onto a tuk tuk after 6 hours of bus and we were taken to our guesthouse in Phnom Pehn, a 25 minute walk from the river front. We ate dinner here, right where the Tonle Sap meets the Mekong.

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The next day we took a walking tour of the killing fields, Choeung Ek.  From the moment we walked in we were shocked. Directly in front of you after you walk past the front gate stands a grand stupa filled with skulls and bones, literally hundreds if not thousands on display. The empty grown over mass graves were bone chilling, and the killing tree stories were the most disturbing things we’d ever heard of. Despite all of the horror and atrocities that happened here, there was still the sense of calming peace surrounding you. Everyone visiting was respectful and quiet, the atmosphere sombre and disturbing.

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Ironically while on the way to the killing fields, we make a quick stop at the gun range to fire off some automatic weapons. By we I  mean Alistair, and he only tried one gun, half a clip (15 bullets) with an AK47. The Russian made Kalashnikov delivered Alistair into manhood, and even blew away some coconuts in the process. Renee watched from the far corner, excited yet uncomfortable around the giant gun that effortlessly shredded a coconut.

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But the big city blues were starting to take hold after just 3 days in Phnom Penh, so we made haste for the beachs on the sunny coast of Southern Cambodia.

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