Tag Archives: Killing Fields

Battambang and the Bamboo Train

Bamboo TrainFirst impressions aren’t always accurate. My first impression of Battambang was pretty much the complete opposite of what I was expecting. I had read about all the French era colonial buildings that adorn the river. I had read of the towns charm. I equated both of these to a more genuine Cambodian river town experience. Coming off of my love affair with Siem Reap I was expecting a lot.

I was expecting a town with a tree-lined river skirted by a promenade of colonial buildings. The town center would have a dining and drinking area that was well maintained.

I guess I was expecting Siem Reap. I know better than to expect a duplicate of something I have already experienced.

Travel is for new experiences.

As I walked around Battambang I couldn’t believe how wrong my expectations were. Equating it to a ghost town caught in the dust bowl of the 1920’s would not be inaccurate. Cars and tuk-tuks kick up a layer of dust that hangs in the air engulfing everything. Visibility is affected and everywhere Continue reading Battambang and the Bamboo Train

Pol Pot Genocide

flattiresandslowboats.comIn the late 1970’s Cambodia was ruled by a dictator named Pol Pot. It is because of him that Kampuchea, as it was then called,  takes its place in world history as one of several countries that has witnessed a genocidal maniac at the helm.

His reign of terror lasted only three years but in that time he managed to wipe out 25% of the population; an estimated 2 million lives. The mass graves of many of his victims are known as Killing Fields.

I visited one today.

On the outskirts of Phnom Penh, where city turns rural, are the rice fields of Choeung Ek. As you enter you are greeted by a huge pagoda built of white washed concrete and glass. Inside, and behind the glass, lay the skulls and bones Continue reading Pol Pot Genocide