We arrived refreshed in PP after a week lazing on the beach at Phu Quoc. We were excited to be coming to Cambodia and meet the people here. It continues to be sweltering in this part of the world - 40 degrees celcius is tough even after two months of it!
PP, we were told, is the prettiest of the former French Colonial towns in this part of the world. It is a very lovely city with much of the colonial charm still intact - its main street hugs the river side and it makes for a lovely stroll in the evening.
We decided to visit the side of Cambodia that many people want to forget. This was to try and grasp how it was that not that long ago, in the late 70's - how a man like Pol Pot and his evil Khmer Rouge were allowed to come to power and terrorise his own people for three years before being overthrown by the Vietnamese. We visited the infamous "Killing Fields" which lie about 15 km outside of the city centre. It was hot, dusty, and very quiet - more than 8,000 Cambodians were exterminated on this site - making no difference if they were men, women, or even infant children. However, in total during his reign, it is estimated that between 1 -2 million Cambodians died at his hand. There is a memorial here with many of the skulls of these victims - not a pleasant site. However, many of the Cambodians that we spoke to either remember that time or were very small - they become very angry and enraged when discussing it and now we can see why. Pol Pot was as meticulous with his victims as the Nazis, recording everything about them, photos etc... most of these are housed at S-21, which was a prison during the time and has now been turned into a museum.
After such a depressing afternoon, we decided to go to the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) where most of the journalists gathered whilst they were reporting on these times. It has a lovely location overlooking the river, and a beer never tasted so good, especially when it's happy hour!
Unfortunately, we only have two days here and head early morning up to Siem Reap to visit the temples at Angkor Wat. We would love to have stayed longer and look forward to our return!