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from horror to fabulous

and back around

sunny 82 °F

the contradiction of cambodia. four years of absolute horror, but before then, years of french domination, a "golden moment", then civil war, the 4 years of khmer rouge genocidal mania, then 10 years of vietnamese occupation... and now, a country racing toward the future...


we hired a tuk tuk and driver for the day, rode out to Central Market, wonderful domed market full of everything, especially food, raw cooked, fried, grilled. soup, rice, fish of all sorts, boiling pig head, pickled sour fruits. P1050263.jpgP1050258.jpgP1050276.jpgP1050270.jpgwe had breakfast there, all three of us. the tuk tuk driver got noodle soup with lettuce and meatballs. i carefully order a scrambled egg for dan, acted it all out, everyone understood. and dan got the same soup, with a raw egg floating in it. oooh, he did not look happy!! dan does not eat soup for breakfast, even if there is an egg in it. i'll eat that, i say, and do the scrambled egg act again. ah yes, smiles of comprehension. a while later a plate with two fried eggs, fried rice and two kinds of vegetables appears. well, not quite what dan had in mind, but edible, and quite good. my soup, by the way, was superb. even with an egg in it.

then off to "the killing fields". a memorial to true genocidal horror. i will not describe it, except to say that it is a profoundly moving experience to be in that place...

s 21, cell room

s 21, cell room

so after that, back to the banal goodness of more shopping, at the russian market. ( no russians anywhere to be seen, they used to shop there, but left after the 80's..)
another huge market, full of deals, brand name thermal tees, abercrombie, aeropostale, polo, gucci jeans.. is there such a thing as gucci jeans? fake rolex watches, nike sox, silk scarves... crowded, dark, you can get a cheap suit, electrical parts, pots and pans. and take it all home on a tuk tuk - saw a tuk tuk today with a mattress, 4 wicker chairs, and a table on top, a family of five riding inside with pots and pans and kitchen towels...

more eating- lunch, this time, and i had the best soup in the universe.. no name of course except "cambodia soup", yeah look up that recipe! some sort of whitish broth pour over noodles, a freshly grated banana flower, other unknown vegetables chopped in, then a purple flower torn up, and a bunch of torn up herb leaves. a squirt of lemon and there it was, the best soup in the universe... yes, i ate a purple flower for lunch.

then back to unspeakable badness, the infamous prison, S21, where people were tortured, the rooms still there with metal beds and evil spirits in them... photos the khmer rouge took of their victims displayed one after another... hard to be there, hard to leave the innocent dead behind.

on to fabulous, the Royal Palace, all gold and intricately painted murals, costumes with gold and sparkles, unbelievably ornate. lots of buildings with upturned roof corners, high stacked tile roofs. then the silver pagoda, with the floor covered in real silver tiles, now mostly covered with a carpet to protect it, but enough showing to be utterly astounding, and cool to my toes that wandered onto it...

a bit more sight seeing, a temple on a hill, with an elephant being hosed down in front, and lots of monks in orange robes walking around and taking photos of each other... a drive by the river promenade, people sitting on benches, kids playing soccer and badminton, couples strolling on the broad sidewalk... near the end of the promenade, we drove by "nagaland", a huge casino/hotel complex to rival a las vegas casino... brand new, rather awful and much too big and overwhelming...

what a day!! tuk tuk driver meets us later, we pick up his brother and go for cambodia dinner, 4 shared dishes, heaps of rice, a bottle of water, a mango smoothy for dan, and dinner for all is $5. P1050357.jpg

Posted by danydena 06:19 Archived in Cambodia

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