Friday, May 12, 2017

Holiday in Cambodia... with the Wandering Writer

If any of you, people is a fan of punk music (and is not  a teenager anymore 😅), surely remembers the song "Holiday in Cambodia" of the Dead Kennedys.
Well times has changed a lot from the times when they were singing the song (1979), and the terror of the Khmer Rouge and their leader Pol Pot is now gone forever.
Nowadays, talking about going for a holiday in Cambodia, means having a relaxed holiday, enjoying the warm hospitality typical of the Asian people, the great food experience and the cultural heritage, even if in this case means also getting to know those dark periods.
For this time, I will skip the history because I feel it quite gruesome to be shared and there are things that is better to bury in the past.
Cambodia is facing even nowadays numerous challenges, as for example widespread poverty, corruption, lack of political freedoms, low human development, and a high rate of hunger. Despite this, it is one of the Asian countries with the fastest economic growth rate.
Nevertheless, when you think about giving money to beggars, you have to keep in mind that this will never end in their hands, as too many people are living in a state of slavery, and are forced to beg on the streets for the profit of the exploiters.
Phnom Penh, is the capital and is a real bustling city, busy at every time of the day and the night. It was considered, during the french colonialism the Paris of the East, and even if nowadays that that beauty seemed a bit faded, the place still keeps its charm.
The best part of the city is the riverside, where all the cafes, restaurants and hotels are located. and also where the royal palace can be admired in all of its beauty

Even if I said we should leave the painful past at our shoulders, this doesn't mean that we have to forget about it without having learned anything. For this reason something that I sincerely suggest to visit is the genocide museum in Phnom Penh.
The museum is located in a former high school, which was used by the Khmer Rouge regime as a security prison (together with other 150 locations), or if we want to be more precise an extermination camp.
The feelings are very strong, and you can almost touch the fear and pain, and just like visiting other similar places, such as Auschwitz, for example, you wonder how is it possible that something like that happened? How blind and cruel we can be towards fellows of our same species?

Nevertheless, the people are really doing their best to walk from their past trying to build a better future. Regardless whether they are still far from being a democratic country or having the same right granted for everyone, they are moving on, building something day after day for the future of the generations to come.

Our wanderings brought unavoidably to Siem Reap, where the famous temple complex of Angkor Wat is located.
I suggest you get the pass for three days, as that is the amount of time you might need if you really want to explore the whole complex, and believe me, you definitely want to see it all.
The place is incredible, and is the largest religious complex in the world. Originally built as a Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu, it was reconverted in a Buddhist at the end of the 12th century. Like many other religious buildings, there are legends about its building, and one of those says that the whole complex was built in one night by divine architect.
Now, already human architects cannot build a Lego house on their own, you can imagine that at least they needed ten divine architects to do it in one night, and yet, I am not sure they would have managed to make something that could even compare with the beauty of the place.
But let's have some picture talk for me, shall we?

The view of those trees wrapping the building in a deadly embrace is something that really inspired so many thoughts. I could barely take my eyes off as each of them resembled the union of two impossible lovers. Their love will kill them, but being away would have been a more painful demise.
Oh, and don't miss the view of the main building at the sunrise!!!
We stayed in Siem Reap for a few days more, and really it was difficult to leave. Far from resembling the bustling city of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap offers a more relaxing lifestyle, and walking in the evening for the streets can be an extremely pleasant experience.
The day, you can indulge yourself in some shopping in one of the many open markets, where you can find whatever you might need. Whether you mean to buy something or anything at all, it is an interesting experience, and if there is another place that tells you a lot about the culture and lifestyle of the locals, this is just the main street market.
Even for this time is everything, I wish you a very relaxing and pleasant weekend,
Stay tuned!!!

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