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S-21

September 19th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 05-Cambodia - (1 Comments)

A pretty sad day by all accounts visiting the two main sites of Phnom Penh, S-21 and the Killing Fields.  Many of the photos below are pretty harrowing and not for the squeamish, but these are real events and we have to show the bad as well as the good.

In 1975 Tuol Svay Prey High School was taken over by Pol Pot’s security forces and turned into a prison known as Security Prison 21 (S-21). S-21 was Angkar’s premier security institution, specifically designed for the interrogation and extermination of anti-Angkar elements.

Between the years of 1975 and 1978 more than 17,000 people held at S-21 were taken to the extermination camp Choeunk Ek, also known as the killing fields (next post).  When the Vietnamese army liberated Phnom Penh in 79’ there were only 7 prisoners alive at S-21, all of whom had used their skills such as painting or photography to stay alive.  Several foreigners from Australia, France, and the USA were also held here until being murdered.

Like the Nazi’s, the KR were meticulous with their records, every prisoner was photographed and a small biography written accounting their life up to their execution, most of which is on display.  The photos below give you a snapshot of the harrowing ordeal these people went through.

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Credit cards stolen

September 18th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 05-Cambodia - (6 Comments)

A few days ago we discovered that three of our credit cards were stolen from our hotel room in Bangkok.  I had left my wallet in a ‘secret pouch’ in my rucksack as we hadn’t used it since we left the UK.  When having a review of our finances Sam noticed that her visa card was missing, and after a long search, two of mine had also gone.  We knew it was too much of a coincidence to loose all three at once and without hesitation it was off to the internet shop to check our accounts.

Sure enough our statements were showing fraudulent activity, all in Bangkok, the majority for Boots, Tesco Lotus, some mobile phone shop and several ladies clothing outlets – around £650 in total so far.  The hotel staff must have searched our sacks while we were out sightseeing.  Interestingly, only the cards which had the ‘visa’ logo were taken.

Several expensive calls later to our banks, they have agreed to refund the money but only when we sign disclaimer forms which they plan on sending out to us in the next day or so (somewhere).

Now we are travelling with only one visa card until we can get the replacements shipped out to us somewhere – we’ll have to ask Debbie nicely in the next week or so.

Yet another valuable lesson learnt.

Number 9 Guesthouse

September 17th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 05-Cambodia - (3 Comments)

We have arrived safely in Phnom Penh and have checked into a great backpacker hostel called Number 9 which overlooks the famous Boeng Kak Lake.

We have been very lazy here and reluctant to do anything other that chill, eat and socialise.  It’s not safe enough to whip out the laptop and write at our leisure, there are many eyes watching – better be safe than sorry.  Internet is also pretty poor, but the beer, cocktails and food are cheap .

The restuarant next door, ‘Happy Herbs, specialises in marijuana pizzas – those wanting to pass some time in a daze can ask a waiter for a happy pizza, while those wanting to loose some days might request a ‘very happy pizza’ .

We plan on staying here for a few days before we head for the Cambodian coast for some more R&R – it’s a though life.

All the best for now.

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Sights of Cambodia

September 16th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 05-Cambodia - (3 Comments)

Just a few photos of the Cambodian countryside which we took en route from Siem Reap to the capital city, Phnom Penh.  It reminded us slightly of India, especially the poverty but without the filth. 

The journey took around 7 hrs and cost $6 each, it was a very pleasant journey.  When we stopped for a break and we were greeted with all sorts, inc. fried frogs, bat, duck, spiders and much more – not hungry, but thanks anyway!

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Angkor Wot

September 15th, 2008 | Posted by Davey in 05-Cambodia | UNESCO World Heritage Sites - (0 Comments)

Covering more than twenty-five miles of temples, Angkor Wot was built by Khmer kings as monuments of self-glorification in the ninth century and completed three hundred years later.  Not a feeling you get when you go to the taj or the pyramids, but exciting nonetheless. 

In the fifteen century Angkor Wot was abandoned to the jungles after an invasion by Siam and forgotten about until French explorers rediscovered it in the nineteenth century.  Since then, the battled-scarred temples with their beautiful statues, tone sculptures and multi layered towers remain one of the seven man-made wonders of the world.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #6

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The Angelina Joley photo, a scene from Tomb Raider, apparently!

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