March 29, 2006

Killing Fields & Oudong

Motos are great, especially at night. The dark air is relieving while speeding down the streets. But at a stand still, the relief turns into another shiny layer on the face. Jacky, my driver takes me along a road full of carts filled with morning glories. The rivers cutting through the fields and tall sugar palms grow like bean sprouts, individually scattered across a flat horizon. The pink-brown dirt flys up and I aquire a nice blue mask that loops around my ears.

We end up at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek where all the victims from S21 were found. Large holes, surprisingly very close to each other used to be filled with skeletons. The largest, not looking so large, contained over 400 people. Torn clothes still clung into the earth. Piles of tibias and femurs by each sign. A tree where children were beaten. A tree that had contained a microphone, used to muffle the sounds of pain.

In the opposite direction of the city was a completely different atmosphere. Passed several markets and schools through a Muslim area and stopped for a refreshing glass of sugar cane juice. Further North, we saw more countryside. Fields of opened pink lotus and the river weaving in and out of view. The flat plains were interrupted by only a few mountains clumped in the distance. The peak was the tops of temples, Oudong, the old capital. Lots of chicken for lunch including liver tasting lungs, lumpy boiled skin and skinny heads and legs. Then the climb up the stairs giving better views of the countryside below, getting closer to the chanting ceremony at the topmost temple. I guiltily handed over donations and gratefully accepted a free chat with monk nuns and kids. Odd fabrics cut into triangles, decorating the ceilings. Young monks laughing at me as I dash past the jumping monkeys. A cool ride home, happy to stand again. P

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