Friday, May 8, 2009

Cambodia, Day 4 - Phnom Penh

Today started early for me as I couldn't sleep past 5:30am. I lounged about in our air-conditioned hotel room until about 7, then went out to explore. I took a great panormamic shot of the view from our hotel room...

Behind the hotel is an extensive street market where I bought a bunch of local bananas and a floppy hat to replace my beloved Tilley which went missing yesterday.

My next stop was a restaurant nearby the hotel that offered free wifi... not only did I get three days of blog posts uploaded and some email read & answered, the connection was good enough to support a skype call with Mick & Steve - I miss them so much, and it set me up for a great day being able to talk with them.

Some Primates joined me for breakfast and I spread the joy by letting them use my phone to make quick skype calls to their loved ones.

The group events started at 10am with a walk to the National Museum, a great exhibition of Cambodian artwork dating back to a thousand years. We weren't allowed to take pictures inside, but I got some shots of the grounds, including a couple of elephant shots for Ma...

Next was a walk down Artists' Row, a street beside the Museum where a lot of the paintings and sculptures sold at the various markets are made...

We got on the bus next for a trip to the Khmer Women's Voice Centre... not a singing group but an organization that works towards education of women and equalization of gender rights.

They made us a great lunch of a mild yellow curry (way yum!) and gave us a presentation of what they do. Of course, we sang a xouple of songs for them (Primates always sing for their supper).

We went back to the hotel for a quick shirt change (mine was soaked through with sweat) and to drop off those who did not want to participate in our next event, a visit to Tuol Sleng, a former primary and secondary school converted to an interrogation and death camp by the Khmer Rouge, and now preserved as a museum of genocide. This is very difficult to write about. Of the 20,000 inmates of this prison over the years of Pol Pot's reign of terror, only 7 survived. We saw the classrooms converted to torture chambers, the dormrooms subdivided by brick walls into cells barely large enough to stand in, the children's rope climbing apparatus used as gallows, and a display of skulls of several victims with various gunshot and blunt object holes. It was positively horrifying, the evil that occured in this place... I could feel death permeating every wall, every object on display... it was near unbearable. I took some pictures, but I can't bring myself to post them here.

After a very sober busride back to the hotel, I had a cold shower, changed into a tanktop & shorts and walked down to the internet cafe to check mail and post this blog entry.

We have to be ready shortly for this evening's concert. Thankfully it's early, giving me hope we may be back home with enough time to do a few other things before hutting the rack, but we're only one of several acts on the programme so it could yet be a loooong evening. I must admit at this moment I don't feel much like Tanzen und Springen, but once I suit up I'm sure I'll be fine. Over & out for now...

-- Post From My iPhone

1 comment:

  1. if ya ever decide to give up singin for your supper you could have a great career in the travel writing industry!

    I betcha "suiting up" in that heat and humidity ain't much fun tho....