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

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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