January 10, 2012
This will be a short blog. We have a travel day tomorrow and I am beaten like a rented mule.
Cambodia has been like Nepal, except with 95 degree heat - the days are long, we exercise a lot and we pour ourselves into our beds.
With this in mind, I will give you the ultra-short Cliff’s Note addition to our day.
We went to the Cambodian War Museum. There we learned about the terrible aspects of the Khmer Rouge and its massive genocide. We also learned about the scourge that land-mines have become for this part of the world. Our tourguide was Com, who lost his left arm to a mine. That is only a mild setback - the same mine took his mom, dad and two sisters.
Here he is with his Texan family:
The museum was full of old equipment, from Russian helicopters
I could write a book about the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot and the misery of Cambodia from 1970-the mid 1990’s, but let me suffice to say that it was unspeakable. In 1975, there were 7.1 million people in Cambodia. Ten years later, they had just over 4 million. To put this in perspective, the US would have to lose over 130 million people to lose an equivalent percentage!
We decided to put all of our tough history in the same day, so we visited a temple complex that had been a school used as a prison by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. At this site, the Khmer Rouge did what they did best - kill innocent people. The monks erected this memorial. I personally really struggled with this.
Here is a monk at the site.
We did not have a completely tough day. We met with my dear friend’s lovely wife Joan. We also had Matthew (from Luang Prabang) join us for the second night in a row. Nothing quite like spending time with friends when you have had a shake-your-faith-in-humanity day! Thanks to both of them for being such great company.