Luol Sleng (Genocide Museum / S-21), National Palace and Museum, Parks, Wats, Riverside, HO!
We are in Phnom Penh (PP) for only one full day so we make it big. Not everything I want to see is stoke for the family so I head out early on a solo morning mission that reveals a pretty awesome city, really. Parks and river and boulevards and cafes and buildings and monument and wat and repeat in this area it’s pretty cool. I jump on the back of a moto for a bone and boom am at Luol Sleng like that for a $1 and am reminded at how much “easier” travel is on the solo or adult couple tip. I wouldn’t trade what I have and am doing overall for anything but in 4 hours I probably see more for half the price of 4 peeps including little kids (mine). They can’t jump on the back of a moto/taxi! (or can they :). I roll w/ the kids tomorrow morning and Megan gets a similar stoke. Cool.
S-21 is stark and gloomy and spooky. It is moving. I won’t put pics in the post from “inside” but there are some pretty graphic exhibits and sights in the flickr stream. Think, killing fields. It is moving and real. I make it back to the national museum which is cool as well (no photos allowed). Fills in and connects some of the Angkor area experience and overall history of the zone. It should be in Siem Reap, but that is more of a commentary on the series of exploitive goons that have wreaked havoc on this place than anything else. That is what sucks about PP in general, smells like gangsta, it is. Also about 5% as cool as the actual temples/ruins we’ve seen, IMO.
So, I’m not at all surprised the biggest market is referred to as “Russian Market”. The Russia/Cambo connection is insane. Put Russian engineering and gangters and Cambo ingenuity together and a shared gangster/survival mentality together and things start making a lot of sense. The market is rad for all of us, if not melting in the afternoon. One of the coolest areas to me is the motorbike zone — there is no such thing as a “junkyard” here — everything is already stripped and organized in amazing fashion at the component level . . . you could build whatever from scratch your own frankemoto if you want — and they have!
Our evening program is rained on a little unfortunately but we plow through and the kids go bannanas on the riverfront public cardio equipment. Aili has moved into a different realm physically in the last 3 months here which is pretty col. She is not at the level of locals who run down a 2 inch bamboo railing for giggles at 3 years old but I can see the adaptation she is making, it is amazing. For her to “survive” the streets or beaches or whatever she is on point and it is challenging and I can see the adaptation and development. She is so much more kinetically aware . . . environment, always.