The reception area of the hostel is very sociable and in no time 4 of us had made plans to visit the killing fields and S21 together – definately not something I wanted to do alone.
To be honest I wasn’t really sure what I expected to see at the killing fields. Before coming out I’d read the book ‘first they killed my father’ which as survivors story of events that occurred under Pol Pot, so I was aware of what had happened.
It took probably 45mims to get there – the roads are not great, a lot of driving around of holes and battling with traffic, but eventually we turned off onto roads in the countryside full of children cycling home from school, all v happy to wave at us.
It was a sunny day and the sight that greeted us on arrival was one of lawns, a beautiful stupa and great peace. Paid our entrance fee $7 for entrance and an audio guide. There was also an introductory video we were in time to see. After watching that and reading the information/pictures they had on display we went back out to follow the tour.
The area was sad but strangly beautiful, they want it as a place of peace where people can come and pay their respects, but also learn and be reminded of what happened here.
The school, S21, was far more brutal in what it showed you, with 100s of photos displayed of people who had passed through the doors, with all but 7 being alive at the end.
We left in somber reflective moods and got back around 5pm, it was a long and draining day. Ailsa and Emma 🙂 who I’d spent the day with needed to book bus tickets and then we walled to the riverside to find a beer before dinner $1 again!
The restaurants along the front were all charging $5 for mostly western food so we went down a side street and found a great looking and very busy area, asked if we could eat and for $1 we could have noodle soup with chicken, and for a further $1 we could purchase a beer from the nearby pharmacy! The food was great, a man made us up a mix of hot and sweet chilli and some hoi sin sauce and someone else brought some wooden chopsticks rather than the plastic ones – so kind.
We may have had a few more beers $0.75 this time, while Emma and Ailsa kindly noted down lots of places they’d been with tips of where to go and a Vietnamese master chef!
When we got back our washing had been returned – all there and nothing extra!
We swapped emails and went our separate ways to bed – my first email buddies!