Killings and a foot massage

Friday was play and rest time. We started with a visit to the Killing Fields which left us gasping. Some images from that tour are hard to chase out of your head, such as soldiers slamming babies against a tree with survivors recounting the tree covered with brain matter and blood. The audio tour with stories from survivors left most of us visitors in awed silence. I knew about these stories from my previous visit and a book that Tessa read in high school; an account by a woman of her experiences with the march out of Phnom Penh and everything that followed when she was 9. I could not finish that book. And now, we couldn’t finish the planned visit to the Toul Sleng high school that became the infamous S21 prison and torture/death chamber for many. I had been there in 2009 and was not all that keen to see it again. Axel had not seen it and he too, after the Killing Fields, felt he had enough.

When we watched the news that night about ISIS, we recognized that the same story is repeating itself over there. It is hard to admit but humans seem to be able to repeat such crimes against humanity over and over. The trigger may well be an explosive mixture of bleak (if any) employment and education opportunities for male teenagers and young men, a surfeit of testosterone and weapons, and a dose of ideological fanaticism that offers simple answers and promises to complex problems.

We spent the rest of Friday by the pool in a luxury environment that stood in stark contrast to the hardships that the Khmer suffered under Pot Pol and his cronies. And as if not luxurious enough, I was offered a half hour foot/leg massage by two ladies with flowers in their long black hair. For 10 dollars it was a steal.

We had our last dinner in the place that served the ramen noodles, which we completed with 6 tiny ice cream cones before packing up. On Saturday morning we left for Bangkok which is a megalopolis compared to small town Phnom Pennh.

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