I spent new years eve visiting S-21 at Tuol Sleng (click here) – the notorious prison of the Khmer Rouge where an estimated 17,000 people were detained. Only 7 prisoners survived, the remaining having been tortured and executed. Located in an old school, it has been transformed into an informative and fascinating (yet very depressing) museum. It goes into the details of how people were made to confess to being spies as a result of waterboarding and finger nail extraction. A British man from Newcastle Upon Tyne even passed through there, though his name was not known. It was made all the more real by the fact that this happened within my own lifetime, and one of the 7 survivors was (amazingly) at the museum/prison/school selling his account of it all to the public in the form of a paperback.
Following a quiet new year (couldn’t face another huge hangover like Christmas!) I headed up north towards Skun, as I decided to take the northern route through Cambodia towards Thailand. Skun is apparently the deep fried spider capital of Cambodia, as indicated when you enter the town by a pair of gigantic wooden spiders. It made me feel like I was in Australia! (they have numerous ‘giant’ objects ranging from sheep to pineapples) I didn’t find any spiders, though I did find a bunch of really friendly (and cheeky) kids at a drinks stall I was at.
I was thinking of going south to the coast before heading up north, but looking at the map and roughly counting the days I thought it would be a push to make my flight in Bangkok. Just as well I checked as well – there was me thinking I flew to N.Z. on 18 Jan – it’s actually the 16th!
Today, I started early once more to try beating the heat and made it up to Kampong Thom which is a bit of a trucker/bus stop on the road going up to Siem Reap. I may stay here a couple of days as there are apparently some very old temples worth seeing nearby.