At least we are now in Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia. From the first sight this city makes much more better impression than Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. Less crowded, less money oriented, friendly and not that pushy tuk-tuk drivers.
First night we've spent in Royal Hotel (Lonely Planet recommended, but honestly no clue why), as there were no free beds in other hostels, but next day we've managed to get three beds in Mini Top Banana Hostel, which is second location of Top Banana Hostel, brand new (opened 1,5 month ago) and very cosy. I'll stay here one more day than planned, but I just cannot help it.
By now I've seen in Phnom Penh Royal Palace (complex of buildings which serves as the royal residence of the king of Cambodia) with Silver Pagoda (there are 1000 buddhas there, the biggest of them is made from 90kg of gold and decorated with over 9000 diamonds) maned like that after silver floor tiles.
Phnom Penh was witnessing Khmer Rouge regime and S-21 security office was located here. It was created on order of Pol Pot in April 17, 1975. Security office 21 in "Democratic Kampuchea" was hosted in Tuol Sieng Primary and High school. Now there is Tuol Sieng Genocide Museum. Area itself looks really nice and if I was to go to school again I'd like my school to be in such place, but when I think about all barbarian tortures that they've been performing there my stomach turns around.
Prisoners from Tuol Sieng were taken to be killed and buried in Choeung Ek, which is 15 km South West from Phnom Penh. They were buried in mass graves, the biggest had 450 corpses, there was a grave of 160 people without heads or a pit of 100 naked woman and kids. At the area where pits are you can still find clothes, teeth and bones of the victims of Khmer Rouge regime.
That did not make that big impression on me as War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh. Maybe because I've seen that before in Auschwitz or because I was already "anesthetized" by War Remnants Museum.
On the way back from S-21 Museum we saw a street stall selling deep fried grass hoppers, snakes, frogs, cockroaches and larwas so to experience SE Asia fully I've tried each of them. Grass hopper and frog were the best, I did not like cockroach and larwa though. Snake was rather ok, but too many bones, and there were not really bones that you could eat like I've done it with a frog.
|In tuk-tuk, on the way to the hotel.|
|Polish flag on the bank of Mekong river|
|Phnom Penh Buddhist center|
|View from Top Banana Hostel|
|Tuk-tuk - night out|
|Chuong Ek - pits where bodies were buried|
|Skulls, bones and clothes of over 8000 victims are stored here to memorize the tragedy|
|S-21 - photos of victims|
|S-21 from behind barbed wire|
|S-21 - classes were transformed into single cells|
|Dorm in Mini Top Banana - guess which mattress is mine|
|Top Mini Banana - entrance to the dorm|
|This should be the first photo in this post, but I'm not able to move it up. But still - Cambodia Kingdom of wonder|