KPC-SGN Day 5: No Beer No Life

Sun rises up so early at Phnom Penh, at 6:15am. This was our last day at Phnom Penh and tomorrow we will be heading to Chau Doc, Vietnam. One of our mate will be leaving this afternoon back to Malaysia as she was only joining us for half of the journey and Phnom Penh was the place she departed home. As I woke up kinda early in the morning and our city tour will only start at 8:30 am. I decided to have a walk nearby the guest house trying to find something for my breakfast. Early morning at Phnom Penh down town near to Orussey Market (local market), there were so many people around the market doing their daily routines. Hawkers were selling food by road side while people was walking around and the horns from vehicles never stopped. It was a busy morning! I never expected that it would be so crowded in the early morning.

I was trying to be extra careful when crossing the roads as there were too many motorcycles on the road. Tuk tuk drivers were offering to take me around the city while I was rejecting them non-stop. I was a bit tired with it and yet they were so persistent in making me their first customer of that day. I was a bit annoyed by that. I gave up walking along the street and ran into a restaurant - Orussey Restaurant for my breakfast. Beef noodle soup with a dim sum, a very heavy breakfast for me :).

Our first stop for that day was the Killing Field (genocide field) - the mass grave for thousands of innocent souls. For more information about the place - click here. The unearthed skulls and bones were kept inside this Buddhist Memorial.

A card from the Red Cross of Japan been kept next to the skulls.

The remaining pieces of clothes of the victims that were unearthed from the mass graves.

You don't need me to explain why they were naked right, don't you?

A tree said to be an execution site whereby prisoners were hanged on it's branches and the executor will torture the prisoners to death while loud speakers were being put on the tree top with constant loud broadcast from it to cover the moaning sounds from the dying victims. These Khmer Rouge's armies were CRAZY and I bet their souls would be in the hell now for endless suffering!

I found it hard to describe my feelings during my visit there. My mind was so blank and my body was numb to have seen so many skulls. I can't stop imagining how was it on that day of execution some 30 years back. I was trying hard to stop myself from thinking too much on the topic. As I know the Tuol Sleng museum which was to come next would make my mind sink further into it.

On our way to Tuol Sleng Museum, the driver stopped us by the Russian Market to do our souvenir shopping. Nothing special here, just yet another market in Cambodia.

So, here comes the real highlight for day 5 - Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The museum was previously a high school and during the Khmer Rouge regime, they converted it into an interrogation center as well as temporary prison for spies. To understand more about the museum - click here.

It was 11am in the morning and the sky was covered with dark clouds. It was like moment before storm and the whole atmosphere in the building was terrible. The building was so spooky and I think no one would wanted to go inside alone if it was dark at night. As I was walking through the rooms and looking at the pictures and information boards being displayed on the walls, I was like backed to the year when I am watching those war captives being tortured by the ruling armies. I hate the feeling and I hate the fact that human was killing each other for the crazy of power in the name of "Revolution".

This picture was took right before we stepped out from the museum. Does it give you a feeling that you are backed to the Khmer Rough ruling years? With the dark clouds on top of the building, it gave me a feel that something bad is coming, a "deadly storm" ... I think too much maybe ... My brain was not working at all, my heart beats were so slow and I was like walking back to the car without soul ... I kept asking myself the same question - How could we kill each other when we said we are human? I know I was not in a good mood...

After sending my mate to the airport, we continued our city tour with independence monument as our first stop after lunch.

The Royal Palace, I did not go into the palace as I don't feel interested in their interior but I was walking around the palace wall outside and snapping a few pictures of it.

The sky turns clear after an hour rain around 12pm.

The city tour continued with visits to musuem, monuments and lots of places that I have already forgotten about their names. We were sent backed to the guest house at 6pm when the tour ended.

We settled our dinner at a night market right in front of the Orussey market. It was kinda like our Malaysian style Mamak by the road side. The owner of the stall that we ordered our dinner from was a Cambodian Chinese who speaks little chinese. I ordered for fried rice with beef and it came out with big plate with very big portion of fried rice.

I was trying my best to finish the rice but really could not finish it =.=. It was a very big portion even with my huge stomach! So I pushed the plate to the other side of the table while I was enjoying my drink. Suddenly, I felt some one was calling me from behind and I turned myself to him. He was a Cambodian kid loitering around the night market that I seen him moment before. He was asking me in a soft tone, :"You finished? Can I have it?" while pointing me to my plate of left over rice. I told him I am done and he started to take out a plastic bag and fill all my left over rice into his bag and took it away. Before he left, I asked him what is that for and he told me that will be his dinner. I felt so bad for myself, so unlucky for the kid and felt so ashame that I used to throw away food that I cannot finish back at home. I was wondering how many people are living in poverty these days and I really cannot imagine it could be so serious over here up to this extend! Well, I do feel lucky that I was born in Malaysia and I wish so much that I can tell those kids loitering on the streets that night that I wanted to treat them each for a plate of fried rice. But I did not do so ... I am feeling shameful of myself =.=

After dinner, my mind got so confused as I just discovered about the real condition of Cambodian society as I did not believe in what I read before from the net. I was separated from my mates and walking to the convenient shop next to our guest house and had a night drink out with the local tuk tuk drivers and a Japanese mate I met there - Mr. Masashi. Those tuk tuk drivers I was drinking with that night were those I met during my two days stay at the capital and they all recognized me so well kept telling me that they know we came in a group of five. The drivers were complaining to me at first that why did I not to take up their tuk tuk for day tour but rather opted for day trip from big company like Capitol Day Tour. They were explaining to me that they were not angry with me but felt disappointed with the tourists that have a same mindset as mind - assuming that tuk tuk driver will always charge us more for the fee.

To be honest, I was a bit hesitate when questioned by them as I thought to myself that I was not welcomed here. But after a long night conversations with them, they explained to me about the real economic condition about their country and their difficulty in earning money for daily living. I felt what they had told me was kinda true especially when they were all getting a bit drunk with couple of beers. It was a really long conversations and I would like to keep it between me and the drivers. One of them - Mr. Bora, he kept asking me when will I be leaving and if I am still around tomorrow night he will bring over his 14 years old sun to meet up with me for a drink too :) ... Really a funny old man. The other guy Mr. Ta, he was complaining to me that his wife will get mad tonight when he goes home without money (he has no business for today) and she will start mumbling at him if she knows that he was drunk :D!

I really had fun with my Cambodian mates and I wish that I did not make an empty promise to them that I will be coming back to Phnom Penh city to have another drinking session with them next year. Thank you Ta, Bora, Sap, Michael and Masashi for that funny night and that really helps me a to understand about Cambodia more and to totally changed my feeling about Phnom Penh. Thank you mates!