Thursday, November 10, 2011

Phnom Penh

We woke up and had a Cambodian breakfast. Afterwards we stopped by Gloria Jeans to have a refreshing drink/coffee. We then went to the Cambodian National Museum to look at ancient artefacts from temples and other empiric lands.

It was pretty interesting. The style of historic Cambodia reminded me of a combination between Egyptian and Hinduism.

We then moved on to the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum, which was also called s-21 (Security Office 21). Under the orders of Pol Pot, in April 17 1975 this school was taken over and designed for detention, interrogation, inhuman torture, and killing after confession from the detainees received and documented.

The four buildings of the high school were turned from classrooms into small cells caging individual prisoners. The front of the buildings were covered in a fishnet of barbed wire preventing prisoners from committing suicide (by jumping).
Looks like a Cambodian Mao

Each building were panelled in glass to minimise the sound of prisoners' screaming. Some buildings were used for mass detention. A wooden pole in the yard once used for physical education of students was turned into an instrument of interrogation and torture. The interrogator tied both hands of the prisoner behind their backs and lifted the prisoner upside down. This action was repeated until the prisoner lost consciousness, then the prisoner's head was dipped into a barrel of filthy fertiliser water. This shocked the victims awake and the process was repeated.

The purpose of Khmer Rouge (this is what Pol Pot's regime was called) was to eliminate all those who had any talent, education or skill unless it was of use to them. By the end of their reign, they killed over 2 million people to implement their extreme communist ideas.

The graves of the last victims

Cambodia's lands are enriched with gems, pretty!

I had so many questions, like how does that make sense, how did they even gain power, why did no one revolt against their regime.. etc.
But I think we all know these people carry extremist ideas. The King placed them into power thinking that they would settle the war and drive out the French. The public was happy for their reign in the beginning, to only be plunged into a nightmare later.

Organised chaos

It was pretty intense to see rooms and rooms of prisoner mug shots, pictures of people who had died from torture, torture tools and rooms, and piles of skulls in a cabinet.

We went to Central Market afterwards, I bought my sister a garnet pendant (January baby) and I thought I'd spoil myself and got myself a green sapphire ring for 18 dollars - and its real!

Karaoke room

Kid's room

We looked about then I went to go get a chocolate croissant and a fresh coconut juice. One little girl approached me to buy a bracelet and her tactics were hilarious!
"You want bracelet?"
"Why no?"
"I already have one."
"Why you already have one?"
"Because… just no okay!"
"Why no?"
"I just don't want one."
"Why don't you want one?" (By this time she had one hand on her hips)
"You've got attitude, little girl!"
"Why? Buy bracelet."
"Why no?!" (She now had put down her tray and placed two hands on her hips and cocked her head to the side)
"I'm going to ignore you now."

Then I took refuge in the car. Hahahaha. We picked up Hong's girlfriend (Prime Minister's daughter) and went to her house. A bodyguard drove us three and it was hilarious, he would just speed like crazy, go on opposite lanes, high beam and beep every single car to get out of the way. I felt like he was Jackie Chan in The Tuxedo movie (because the dude was wearing smart casual too).

Some weird type of turtle I've never seen... and they eat it. Looks ancient! HHAHAAHAA

Her house, is insane. Carlos, Michael and I were all in awe at how GRAND the place was. It was the coolest mansion I had ever seen. Couches and trimmed spherical shrubs in bathrooms, crazy dedicated room of shoes, an insane wardrobe full of branded items etc.

We went to eat dinner and every dish was spot on fantastic. The view from the sky bar lounge was beautiful as well. Yum!

I was feeling worn down and cold so Hong's girlfriend got one of her people to go home and get me a scarf. I was thinking that a scarf would do nothing but when I got given it, it was this Gucci massive scarf that kept me incredibly warm like a jumper, CRAZY! It was like the first branded thing I had ever worn hahaha.
We went to karaoke and I got forced to sing by the girlfriend as her one request from me. I sounded terrible with my cold but oh well.

After karaoke, the girlfriend wanted to go clubbing. We were so drop-dead exhausted but we went to keep her company. Again, I was superbly underdressed. I was wearing thongs and a singlet. Oh I forgot to say that before we went to dinner she asked if I wanted to change into her clothes (because I was the only girl not wearing a lovely dress and shoes). I refused so she then said, okay we'll quickly go buy you a dress from next door (she lives in mid-city).

I refused but she insisted on buying one for me, but I really didn't want to take advantage of someone's generosity and I politely reiterated my refusal. I'd love to be spoiled like a princess one day but on my own accord. To her, I am her boyfriend's nephew's (Michael) friend - who am I to her?

Clubbing was fun. That gay guy still tried so hard snuggling up to Carlos, it was hilarious (but not for Carlos). I was exhausted by the end of the night, but we finally made it home. I feel so super bad, each time we offer to pay they don't let us. I've only spent 30 dollars in Cambodia so far and that was for the market jewelery.