A Travellerspoint blog

December 2011

Sightseeing around Phnom Penh

We watched the movie "The Killing Fields" after spending a couple of days here. It is an excellent movie anyway, but it was even more meaningful to us watching it here. We had just taken a tour of the S21 prison which is now the Tuol Sleng Genocide museum. Our guide was a wonderful woman who had been thirteen at the time the Khmer Rouge forced everyone from the city of Phnom Penh and into the fields into forced labor. Her family was killed but she managed to survive the concentration camp conditions. We also met one of only seven men to survive the torture of S21 prison. It was a grim, but very moving day.

We also visited the royal palace and its Silver Pagoda, a lovely and peaceful place in this very hectic city.

We have now moved on to the town of Battambang, about six hours away. It seems more our speed!

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Posted by Pelham Family 02:03 Archived in Cambodia Comments (1)

Phnom Penh

Arrived in Phnom Penh yesterday. It is quite a city! Beautiful river-front walkway, tons of restaurants and places to stay, great people. We walked along the water last night and there were big groups of people out doing aerobics and dancing/exercising. Each group had it's own personality - a bunch of older ladies with oldies music, some people with "traditional" sounding Cambodian music doing slow "martial arts" looking moves, some kids with some very well-organized hip hop moves - it was like the place was filled with competing flash mobs. I loved it!

Today we are headed to the Tuol Sleng Prison museum. It won't be cheerful, but I definitely want to see it. I still can't believe something so horrific happened to this country so recently and they have rebounded in every way to become this wonderful place.

Posted by Pelham Family 17:19 Archived in Cambodia Comments (3)

A great day with some great kids!

I am so happy that we found the Angkor Orphan and Education Organization today. They recently moved into a new building because their other location was destroyed by flood. They are working to fix up this place, starting with a new bathroom and shower facility (right now they are operating with one bathroom for ALL of the kids and staff that live there). The building has great potential but I think they will always have projects they hope to work on. Baylie went to work immediately playing with the youngest kids and I helped clear old trash from the area where the new bathroom will be built. We are going back on Monday with some art supplies and kids books. Looking forward to it!IMG_5207

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Posted by Pelham Family 04:44 Archived in Cambodia Comments (5)

Busy, busy, busy!

We have just been loving Siem Reap! I can't explain why, but it is a perfectly comfortable place to hang out. There is something about the people here that is different from anywhere else we have been.

We went back to the temple ruins on two more days and explored for hours. The main temple of Angkor Wat is spectacular and the biggest tourist draw, but it is not the coolest area here. The partially overgrown ruins are so fun to walk through and there is a potential picture in every direction you look. I snapped a million different shots, but I just couldn't quite capture it.

We also took a boat ride on the Tonle Sap lake. It is gigantic! At one point we couldn't see shore in any direction. Out in the middle is a village on stilts. We saw kids rowing to school and people tending to pigs and chickens on these little floating platforms.

Shawn has rented a mountain bike on a couple of days and taken off into the surrounding area (careful to stay on well established roads and paths because of landmines of course). Baylie and I went horseback riding with a guide through the rice fields. It was a great day and I managed to not get rolled on by my horse when he abruptly decided to lay down and roll in the sand.

Today, Baylie and I are off to one of the orphanages to play with the kids.
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Posted by Pelham Family 17:26 Archived in Cambodia Comments (3)

Angkor Wasp

I don't have enough words for "amazing" to describe the ruins at Angkor Wat. I had read about them, looked at pictures, watched a History Channel documentary, and I was still surprised and blown away. We still have several outlying sites to explore tomorrow and I think we will go back to the main site one more time while we are here. But, our day of exploring was almost disasterously de-railed when we disturbed a wasp nest while we were exploring a building away from the main area. We were standing on top of a five-foot high wall taking some pictures and we saw the nest up in the corner. I wasn't too concerned but apparently we were too close. The whole swarm shot at us - fast! We all leaped right off the wall and started sprinting across a field (I know it's been awhile since I have done anything that could be called "sprinting" but I'm pretty sure I was moving at record speed). We got lucky and only suffered a total of five stings, and after the adrenaline rush wore off we were able to enjoy exploring for the rest of the day!IMG_5013

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Posted by Pelham Family 19:30 Archived in Cambodia Comments (4)

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