I only spent one day in Cambodia, but I feel like I made it worthwhile. I didn’t get to see Angor Wat or any other amazing temples,but I did see one of the most harrowing things I have ever seen in my life-The Killing Fields.
The only method of taxi in Cambodia is tuk tuk, so I tuk one that ended up tuking me through what I felt like were backroads in the countryside, through villages and what not. (What is it with me and backroads?)
Anyhow, upon arrival there, there really isn’t anything that would point to it having been a site of massive genocide. I suppose no sites that have had genocides really seem like they would be, but given the amount of people that died in the killing fields you would think it would be, well, bigger.
It isnt. When you walk around it points to these enclosed pieces of land with signs, denoting just how many bodies are in each one. Disturbing isn’t the word. There’s also a giant for lack of a better term cabinet, full of skulls that were apparently found in the killing fields, all marked with different colored stickers which indicate how that person died.
Digressing a bit, all these historic sites especially the memorial ones for genocide are all supposed to be reminders and powerful lessons learned for people so that we don’t end up committing the same atrocities. Ironically and pathetically, as we speak there is a genocide going on in Syria and likely others I don’t know about. What can one do to truly stop genocide? Any war to me is a genocide, and I believe that even one murder is horrific. What can you say for thousands and millions of murders?
What I liked about the killing fields was that in each marked grave, people and thrown little bracelets on the ground, paying respect to the dead. The graves of mass children were especially hard to take in, and I noticed there were more of these little bracelet thingies. I thought about tossing in my little threaded bracelet I got from India, but I was selfish and wanted to keep it. Eventually it would fall off lol, so I probably should have put it in there.
Let’s get back to something more lighthearted. Where I was in Cambodia was actually fairly westernized, fortunately and unfortunately, so there were a lot of well-known restaurants. I got a bubble tea the night I arrived and tried to get some authentic Cambodian food but it turned disastrous.
I ventured into a restaurant that seemed authentic enough, and being of course that I don’t eat chicken, pork or beef I ordered what I thought was fish soup. But when I got it it turns out there was more than just fish in there. There were tentacles……my fish soup had freaking OCTOPUS in it. I just took it on the chin as I do in these situations as I know that when traveling it is often difficult to even accommodate a solely fish diet. Ugh.
After I saw the Killing Fields I hopped on a plane to Thailand. I don’t even actually remember getting on it or being nervous on it. It turns out that going through security and boarding planes in foreign countries isn’t as painful or complicated as I had thought, so its a good think I don’t remember it. The worst security process I ever experienced was in Israel- but that is for another post.