សួស្តី។ (Suostei!)

Hello from Cambodia!

southern Cambodia and the Vipassana Dhura Buddhist Center from Oudong mountain
We reached Phnom Penh on Thursdsay after five hours on the Mekong River.

Cambodia should be viewed through the lens of the Khmer Rouge (Cambodian Communist) regime led by Pol Pot, 1975-79. An estimated two to three million people (about a quarter of the population) were killed, the currency eradicated, religion outlawed, hospitals shuttered, and schools closed, setting the country back hundreds of years. Genocide targets included professionals, intellectuals, artists, foreigners, diplomats, and any other suspected political enemies. A slower death faced urbanites who were forced out of the cities and onto collective farms. Cambodia has managed an incredible recovery in only 40 years, yet the after-affects are still visible, and it is considered an LDC (least developed country). Currently described as a constitutional monarchy, it has a single party and the second-longest serving prime minister in the world, so you can drawn your own conclusions.

S-21 prison, now Tuol Sleng museum
Formerly a high school, the prison was primarily used for interrogation and torture.
Shrine at Choeung Ek killing field, the location of many mass graves. This is just one of countless sites.
The archives program is going strong as cultural memory and education. Let us learn from the mistakes of history, in part through preserving and promoting its documentation.
lotus, in memoriam

Phnom Penh to Kampong Thom, 20 flat miles, overcast with occasional light rain, mid-80s
Kampong Thom to Siem Reap, 40 flat and fast miles, partly cloudy, mid-80s

Phnom Penh and the royal palace. We’re here at the beginning of rainy season.
Most of the country roads are constructed of red sandy dirt brought from the mountains.
Inside of the Vipassana Dhura Buddhist temple, which I think is kind of like the national temple.
bridge on the way to Siem Reap built in 1181 during the Angkor period
at the spider market in Skuon
The empty back roads are cycling heaven. It is less busy here than in Vietnam.
Old and new: traditional stilt house beside a modern home.
a common sight – an overworked motorbike
seeing a lot of these interesting transport vehicles
Siem Reap’s large tourist quarter
The lemongrass flavor of the soup, the fish curry, and the coconut chicken skewers were all divine.
Things we did not eat: scorpions.
tarantulas and grasshoppers
red ant egg salad
Kampong Thom market
I like how in Cambodian markets, the stalls are elevated instead of on the ground.

5 thoughts on “សួស្តី។ (Suostei!)

  1. You are truly a bold adventurer, Jane! Even if you didn’t eat the scorpions, I’m impressed you held that giant spider. Also, I think you need to bring Nathan back one of those tractor/truck mashups.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I only held the tarantula after the little girl who handed it to me said the fangs had been removed. She then charged me a dollar for the experience. The tractor/truck thing looks bizarre but really does the job around here – highly maneuverable, especially on these rough roads.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, man, I am getting so many flashbacks to the news of my youth. Pol Pot was … gosh is there a word? It requires more than one. Genocidal maniac and maniac doesn’t do it. It’s a sad, beautiful place, and I do love the picture of you with the defanged spider. Man. Happy cycling, girl. I can’t wait to talk to you about this stuff! Sooo glad your food adventurousness doesn’t extend to insects…

    Like

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