We are in Phnom Penh, capital city of Cambodia. Around 1440 Angkor was abandoned and Phnom Penh became the new capital city because of its position. In 1772 it was razed to the ground by Thailand and in 1863 it was conquered by France. A century later, Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge sent the people from the city to the countryside and killed all the opponents of the regime, and Phnom Penh became a ghost town. In 1978 Vietnam invaded and conquered the city and chased out Pol Potin into the forest on the border with Thailand. We visited: The Royal Palace a complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia; the Silver Pagoda, which was inlaid with more than 5,000 silver tiles and some of its outer facade was remodeled with Italian marble. However, only a small area of these tiles are available to be viewed by the public on entering the pagoda. There is salso the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum which was used as the notorious Security Prison 21 (S-21) by the Khmer Rouge regime from its rise to power in 1975 to its fall in 1979. Tuol Sleng means “Hill of the Poisonous Trees” or “Strychnine Hill”. Tuol Sleng was only one of at least 150 execution centers in the country, and as many as 20,000 prisoners there were later killed. Upon arrival at the prison, prisoners were photographed and required to give detailed autobiographies, beginning with their childhood and ending with their arrest. After that, they were forced to strip to their underwear, and their possessions were confiscated. The prisoners were then taken to their cells. Those taken to the smaller cells were shackled to the walls or the concrete floor. Those who were held in the large mass cells were collectively shackled to long pieces of iron bar. The shackles were fixed to alternating bars; the prisoners slept with their heads in opposite directions. They slept on the floor without mats, mosquito nets, or blankets. They were forbidden to talk to each other.
The day in the prison began at 4:30 a.m. when prisoners were ordered to strip for inspection. The guards checked to see if the shackles were loose or if the prisoners had hidden objects they could use to commit suicide. Over the years, several prisoners managed to kill themselves, so the guards were very careful in checking the shackles and cells.
For dinner we were guests of a family restaurant were we had a very tasty and delicious dinner. But it’s time to say our goodbyes to this very nice family but most of all to our fellow adventurers, our friend Stack. We are ready to start our very last adventure in Myanmar. We must unplug visirun’s control unit, but we’ll be reachable again in a couple of days, so Stack can spy on us! 😛