"The world is a book, & those who do not travel read only one page" St. Augustine

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page" St. Augustine

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


(Sunday) Today was a great day! We woke up early and made our way to the orphanage. When we got there we were greeted by a couple dozen smiling faces. They were standing in lines and began singing. They did a little song and dance mostly saying, "Hello!" Then they broke into "If You're Happy and You Know It" which is usually the song we sing. Someone got a bright idea that we should sing back to them and suggested BINGO. It was a failed attempt that did not add up to much compared to the children. The orphanage was under construction, but we did get a little tour. Afterward, we teamed up with the kids and hopped in the tuk tuks.
The water park was nicer than I had anticipated. There were several slides, a wave pool and a floating river. The girls wore clothes while at the water park so we had to wear shorts and a shirt. Many of them were wearing jeans and sweaters! I could not imagine that was comfortable. The water in the floating river was green and the floor was extremely rough. Thankfully we didn't spend a lot of time in it.
There were four mini slides next to one another. We raced up the top and then down to the bottom. Sometimes we would hold hands and slide down together! Then there were two twirling slides. There was a guard at the top, but he was sleeping. Kids pushed and shoved to get to the front of the line. To be honest, there wasn't a line. There was no waiting and no order. Kids went whenever they wanted. We joined in and decided to be reckless as well. Sometimes we would get five or six of us linked together and go down the slide. Othertimes we would get stuck and someone would come crashing in from behind. Either way we were full of smiles, and we would race back up to the top to do it again. There was also a wide yellow slide. About eight of us would hold hands and slide down it. This also led to a few pileups. It was obnoxious and beautiful.
We ate lunch before returning to the water. I ordered a chicken sandwich but got tuna instead. Isabel was nice enough to trade half of her sandwich with me :) The wave pool was not on, but we sat in it anyways. After a while, they turned it on. The waves were fun. I started watching after a little boy who wasn't even in our group. He kept me on my toes though! The water park was such a blast. I haven't giggled that much in a long time. We were all giddy little kids for the afternoon. It was hard to leave and say goodbye. The rest of the evening was pretty mellow.
(Monday) Today was a free day. Although everyone in the group wanted to go to the Killing Fields, Isabel and I decided to go alone. They were going at 8am, and we wanted to sleep in. I woke up at 7am, but it was nice not to set an alarm. When we were ready we went to have breakfast by the river. I had Greek yogurt with honey and toasted cashews. I also had a coffee shake which was just as delicious. There was a man who hassled us for quite some time. At first, I was nice and answered his questions, but then he started telling me he wanted to marry me and that he loved me. He must have been on some very good drugs. He sat down next to us and continued to make pointless remarks. It was a bit annoying.
We decided to head to the Killing Fields around 11. The sun was hotter, but we were on our own schedule. Our tuk tuk driver was very nice, and he drove us to the site and waited. We wanted some coconut juice before we walked around. It was the biggest coconut I have ever had! It took us 10-15 minutes to finish drinking the juice! My belly swelled with the juice; it was a lot!
We had a guide take us around, and two other people joined us. I was completely taken back. First we saw the monument that housed skulls, bones and clothes found within the fields. There were so many. Seventeen shelves held the remains of Khmer people. For a moment, I lost my breath. We walked around and saw the mass graves. There were holes everywhere. Some sections held hundreds of bodies. There were babies and naked women found. Children were killed by being beaten against a tree. We saw the tree, and a sense of nausea overcame me. My mind could only think of one question, "How?" The graves seemed to go on forever.
There was a movie and a small museum. The museum had weapons, clothes and pictures of Khmer people and the Khmer Rouge soldiers. One important peson, Duck was displayed. His name was mentioned often at  Tuol Sleng for being responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, etc. At this museum, his note of apology was acknowledged. He admitted his crimes; however, there are still trials going on against the remaining Khmer Rouge leaders. Although many have passed away, including the leader Pol Pot, they were never sentenced. The movie did no justice for the nightmare that people were living in.
Isabel and I decided to go back to the Russian Market after the museum. We bought a few gifts and then went back to the city. We went to the Palace Museum and saw artifacts. The gardens were beautiful. There were some monks by the water, and they waved us over. We sat and talked with them for a while. However, they seemed to be hitting on us more than conversing. After some time we walked away and enjoyed the rest of the museum. It was so nice to see the stone carvings and sculptures. It's amazing how much detail is placed in each artifact. In the evening, we ate dinner at a street cafe. Then we met up with some of the group for cocktails on the roof. The cocktails were very good. We only had two before retiring for the evening. It was a long day even if it was a free day.

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