Monday, December 04, 2006

 

Pics - Cambodia

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On our first morning in Phnom Penh, Anders and Mikkel and I went to a local shooting range. They have virtually no concept of gun safety which is fine because I have no interest in it myself. For a small fee they just hand any old idiot a gun of his choice and let them fire away at a target. I chose the Colt-45 and the AK-47 though they had lots of others to choose from.

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What can I say? That's an anti-aircraft gun and that's me holding it. The bandana is there to make me look tough.

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A logical next place to visit after a shooting range is probably here; The Killing Fields (its actually just where the driver took us). During this reign of terror in the late 70s under the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot used this site for the seemingly indiscriminate killings of anyone he perceived as a threat to the revolution or the government. It is unknown how many people died here but estimates approach 100,000. Women, children, foreigners, the blind, the infirm and the elderly enjoyed no special exemption. The total lack rational that went into these deaths makes it all the more heartbreaking. In my travels, this place sits next to Hiroshima as a showcase of the ugliness and thoughtlessness we (the royal we) are capable of.

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We arrived in Phnom Penh during the Water Festival, one of the biggest events of the year. The streets were choked of with hundreds of thousands of people having a good time and making life hell for cab drivers. Some places were far more crowded than this. You'd think I'd have something negative to say about it but I don't. It was a blast.

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Just outside of Siem Riep is this: Angkor Wat. The mother of all temples. I assumed by the time I had reached this place and had seen about a million temples in Asia I would be all templed out. Impossible at this place. We arrived just after five in the morning so as to see the sun rise from in front of the main entrance. About 500 other people had the same idea. The main temple itself (pictured here) takes hours to explore but that only is the beginning of the day. For miles and miles around there are numerous stone pyramids, jungle shrines, ancient walls, bridges and gates that need to be explored. I will post more pics when I have time.

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