Don't let your dreams be dreams..... travel blog

Phnom Penh

Tuol Sleng Cells

Brick Cells at Tuol Sleng

Larger cell in Tuol Sleng

Small cell...5'x3'

Prison cells

Picture of torture victim

Classrooms transformed into cells at s-21 Prison - Phnom Penh

View from behind barbed wire

The Rules

Killing Fields - Mass Graves

On display at Killing Fields


Brief Historical Synopsis:

Right after the Vietnam war the Khmer Rouge Guerrilla's were on a mission to transform Cambodia into a 'Peasant-dominated' Country. They created what was said to be one of the 'Most radical, brutal revolutions the world has ever seen'. From 1975-1979 the Khmer Rouge were responsible for close to 2 Million deaths. Most Cambodians were sent to the fields and made to work as Malnourished Slaves. The prisioners were actually just educated people that they wanted out of society, they were sought out, put in prison (main one being Tuol Sleng), tortured and if they survived they were eventually transported to 'The Killing Fields" to be executed.

We arrived in Phnom Penh and we're very happy to see that the bus dropped us off right in the middle of all the backpacker guesthouses....usually the bus stations are a few kilometers from anything and you have to taxi your way into the city! It's a conspiracy!

We spent a day at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. It was once a school and taken over to be used as a prison. You know how sometimes you can feel a place? I could feel this place. It was chilling. I felt as though I were in a trance walking through the brick and wooden cells as it all hit me at once what this place actually was. This is the place that 9000 people were Held, Raped, Tortured, Starved and Beaten. They would arrest entire families at a time and separate them. From babies to the elderly. One room had pictures - mug shots of 1000's of prisoners on display. Fear, Agony and Desperation so obvious on their faces. Other rooms had pictures and apparatus on display showing how these people were tortured. There were actual pictures of those that died of starvation or incessant beatings. There were blood stains still on the cell floors and a glass case full of Human Skulls with various indications of the damage and tool causing death. A couple of times I'd reach over to touch one of the cell walls that they would have clung too and felt a all-to-real shiver up throughout my arm. This place was haunting, it had a huge impact on both of us. The grounds were quiet enough so we could absorb what we were taking in. The following day we made a trip outside of the city center to the "Killing Fields". It was a big open field with big holes dug out allowing pathways between them. Those that didn't die in the prison were eventually blindfolded and transported there. They were told to kneel by one of the mass graves and were bludgeoned. Apparently they had loud a speaker system set up to drown out the cries. Bullets were rarely used as they were too precious to waste. Still gives me chills thinking about it. The largest grave there held approx. 900 bodies.

How do you follow a story like that...

I know. Tyler got ran over by a Scooter. That was actually pretty funny. He was crossing the street and as I've mentioned - no such thing as traffic rules here. Guy comes onto wrong side of the street. Tyler's trying to cross without getting hit by the oncoming traffic - Yardsale - They're both sprawled over the street. Yeah, I had a little spaz but no blood, no injury, just some gushing oil leak. It was funny.

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