Friday, March 12, 2010


I had an eco-friendlier choice- gear up to ride a (motor) bike out of the city centre or grab a car. As much as I'd love to go vrrrrooooooom down the dusty streets, I didn't quite have the time or clothes for it. So the car it had to be.

It was such a luxury to have the car at my disposal, along with a knowledgeable and friendly driver. He didn't try to push me to go look at jewelry or handicrafts. He left it to me to decide where I wanted to go and he'd make his recommendations from there. That, and also an air-conditioned refuge from the dry heat in Phnom Penh. The city will hit its hottest month in April, expecting temperatures of 40°C.

I took time to re-visit the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. I'm morbid like that. More so than the Royal Palace and Wats, which (to me) warrant a onceover and no more. I like to re-visit its museums, alone, preferably, so that I don't have to deal with another's impatience. I lingered rather long to remember, feel and reflect.

I also went to Choeung Ek. Visiting the site a couple of years ago, I bawled like a baby after. But I was very young and was overwhelmed by the emotions the site stirred. Born and bred in a time that never saw political instability, war, brutal crimes or violence, I didn't know how to react when the scene presented was no longer a chapter in the history books or a moving image on television. This time, a different set of emotions stirred. I felt, empathy. Then the serenity and quietude of the environment set in.

And I remembered how much I enjoyed the sojourn in Cambodia that time and why I'm not a fan of vacations in cities. (Ironic, considering my vacations last year were spent in the major capitals of the world.) There's something joyful about exploring the rural areas where they haven't been totally urbanized.

We made our way back to the hotel as the sun set. I fell asleep in the car. It's been a good day out.

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