Monday, 14 September 2015

Tuesday,

and we were up for an early start,



so up to the 14th floor swimming pool,

then a walk up 1 more floor to the 15th floor to the restaurant, this is the view from our table,

and on to a help yourself buffet,

a selection of chilled,

or hot drinks,

and cereals,

and waffles,

the menu changed every day as we found out,

ham and eggs cooked how you like them,

a few savoury add ons,

plus a selection of salad,

so eyes down and tuck in,

there was also a selection of fresh fruit for dessert,

and a larger seating area at the rear,

plus an area where you could eat traditionally, on the floor,

so a quick pose by the pool,

whilst Diana takes a selfie,

and we both enjoy a coffee,

this looks interesting, buy 1 get 1 free,

Mark called round after breakfast to take us on a small tour of the town,

so I took a few pictures on the way,

of nothing much in particular,

but later in the day we were going to the killing fields after we had dropped Mark off,

this was where we were heading, to hire a boat,

and there were lots to chose from,

then on to bigger boats, past the watchtower,

from here lookouts would scan the city looking for fires, as this was the fire station look out post we were told,

we made our way to the harbour where the bigger boats were moored, like this one the Jahan,

there were many boats to look at,

but we were intrigued as this one had a bank facing jacuzzi,

with a balcony for each cabin, also facing the shore,

we just had to look inside so we asked and were graciously shown around the vessel, a part of the lounge,

the bar,

a part of the dining area,

the dining area itself,

swimming pool on the top deck,

afternoon outside facing lounge,

one of the smaller inside ares, for us it was perfect, we could almost see Poirot sitting here,

we looked into one of the rooms,

with it's own balcony, we both imagined us sitting sipping a coffee or beer as the bank side slide past,

the shower,

then on to one of the de-lux rooms, this one the Raj,

the room was huge,

with it's own balcony,

and of course the jacuzzi,

we made enquires with Terry, the director of operations who along with his staff made us most welcome, we will be back! this is the company's web site, again many thanks to Terry and his staff,

we then went past a restaurant, Vans, we will be dining at this evening, but more of that later,

we were now on our way to Mark's home,

passing a small market on the way,

as it happens he lives just a short walk from our hotel,

and here it is,

way up there,

on the 4th floor,

the entrance is in a alley off of the main road,

we started the climb,

the benefit of living high,

is that you get fit,

in the distance our hotel,

and there it is,

the rooms are 4.5 meters wide as most condos are out here,

Mark's unit has the usual kitchen, 

 lounge, bath and bedroom, all with high ceilings,

the view from the bedroom,

looking down,

to the street below,

one thing about living here, you keep fit!

after a cup of tea we said goodbye to Mark,

and we were on our way,

past some of the farm tractors that are so common out here and indeed in rural Thailand,

I spotted something under this lorry as we sped past, I will take another picture of it when we return,

this is where we were headed, Choeung Genocidal Center, or the killing fields as they are known,

we parked the tuk-tuk,

and made our way to the entrance,

there you can use headphones to guide you around the centre, if you do visit here I would suggest that you use the headphones, as the commentary will give you  a clear description of what you are looking at,

every so often there is a sign,

by a numbered post,

telling of the events that happened at each stage of the camps operation,

in the centre the main hall, we will visit here at the end of the tour,

most if not all of the structures,

have been removed many years ago,

but plans and parts still remain,

to identify where various buildings were,

it is a sobering place, we sat for a while listening to the headphones,

the tour circles the main building,

with a museum at one side of it,

we continued our walk,

past stores,

and graves,

each one with it's own,

horror story to tell,

the shear scale of the operation if you can call it that was staggering,

each area sign posted with details,

like this one,

and looking you can still see body parts,

that have been uncovered by recent rains,

not only bones,

but articles of clothing,

make their way to the surface,

it is an ongoing process to retrieve them,

a new walkway was being constructed, one can only imagine what horrors we found as it was being built,

we continued following the pathway,

to some more graves,

it is impossible not to be moved,

whilst reading the signs,

the suffering that went on here, is beyond comprehension,

all of this happening in my lifetime,

when I was in my early 20s,

and we,

the world did nothing to stop it,

it is a sad fact that for these Cambodians they almost certainly may be looking at the remains of their family,

imagine lining up all of your family and friends, starting at one end remove every fourth person, that is what the country of Cambodia had to endure, one in four of it's population wiped out in camps like this,

we continued our walk,

and happened upon this chap,

it looked rather menacing, about 2" or so big, I got as close as I dared, well it might be a jumping spider,

it seems too far fetched, but this was the killing tree,

the stories are true,

as we walked the path,

more reminders of what happened here,

were clear to see,

as cloth and bone broke the surface,

another grave,

and testament to mans inhumanity to man, this tree had loudspeakers placed in it, to drown out the screams and keep new arrivals compliant,

Diana was like myself a little upset, as she looked at what was once a person as bones could be seen easily in the pathway,

we made our way to the main shrine,

inside more horrors to see,

as hundreds of skulls were on display,

on all four sides,

from the floor to the ceiling,

each one had a coloured spot on it with a guide to what the injury was that killed who ever it was,

one side of the enclosure has been left undisturbed,

by the side of the building,

you could buy flowers,

as some sort of way to bring hope to the future that this never happens again and as a tribute the those that suffered so much here, we left feeling very humble indeed,

 the guide,

and map to this killing field,

we made our way back to town passing the lorry we saw before, and what was underneath it? if you look very carefully the driver in his hammock on the left of the picture,

we also past a 'stretched' version of a motor bike, the rear wheels set some way back, the lengths of metal some 18 or 20 feet long,

and a pot a and pan seller on a normal bicycle,

we stopped off at the riverside,

for a coffee,

served black which I added a little syrup to,

and a touch of milk,

this was just one of the many riverside restaurants and bars on the front,

opposite a balloon seller takes a break,

after a shower and a change,

a pre-dinner drink,

we always wear a crash helmet when we are on our motorbike, but I thought it was slightly worrying when the driver of the tuk-tuk put one on, I mean how many of these things fall over that one is needed?

we soon arrived at Van's, our restaurant for the evening,

which was built for the Indochina Bank, it is a 150 year old building and was constructed in French colonial style for the purpose of housing the bank, it became the property of the Cambodian Van family in 1960,

so in we go,

into what I guess was maybe one of the original board rooms,

we were fortunate to have the whole place to ourselves,

'Cheers!',

we were firstly served with an amuse bouche,

then to our main course, French onion soup for Diana,


for myself smoked salmon tartar with lemon cream and jelly of green herbs,

which looked and was delicious,

our wine for the evening,

for our main course, 

Diana chose the stuffed pork tenderloin, fried spinach and fine ratatouille,

for myself, beef fillet with crushed coffee beans served with Kampot’s black peppercorn, flambĂ© with Cognac,

it all looked so nice,

and was,

as we finished our main course one other guest arrived but soon left, I guess she was a fast eater! so I took a couple of pictures,

a very imposing wine selection,

on to desserts, pineapple and coconut with chocolate ice-cream for Diana,

an orange grand marnier soufflé, but if you order this allow 30 minutes preparation time, for myself,

so eyes down and tuck in,

another quick look at the dining area,

then we made our way up the stairs,

past this lady,

to the rooftop bar,

which is both inside,

and outside on the roof,

decision made outside, under cover,

looking down on the street,

Diana having a look as well,

there are chairs near the front,

but we decided on the comfy ones slightly away from the edge,

lovely,

so bring on the cocktails,

'Cheers!', from both of us,

it was at this point it started to rain,

but luckily we were undercover, so no problems there then,

as it was raining we had to have another one, a black Russian,

followed by a white one,

which was surprisingly strong,

it had still not stopped raining, 

so one more for the road,

you guessed it, it was still raining,

hopefully by the end of this one it will have stopped,

and it had, I took a picture of Diana and we were on our way,

downstairs and past a review of the restaurant,

we both made it into the wet courtyard,

hailed a tuk-tuk and back to the hotel, looking forward to the adventures of tomorrow, with that we were off to bed.


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