After having taken two flights, stopping at Hong Kong, we all arrived at Phnom Penh. The weather was quite warm at 38 degrees celsius and a sea of people were waiting outside the airport. The capital is very different to Sydney, with small stands lining the roads and scooters transporting people from one point to the next.
There was a kind of paradoxical lack of order which surprisingly made for rather efficient circulation. The prices of goods are all significantly cheaper than what is seen back at home, an example of the unusually low prices was lunch, each person was able to have a filling meal for under $6USD. This was rather intriguing as it offers a new perspective on how the economy affects the cost of living in other countries. A worthwhile note to take is that the price was in fact in US Dollars, the currency used for most transactions in Phnom Penh. This phenomenon of using another countries currency for internal trade was never seen before by most of the group.
Upon entering each of their respective rooms, the pairs within the group were very fast to notice that there was no electricity and therefore NO FREE WI-FI… Luckily, this was only temporary and the energy was restored later in the day. After a quick google search, we learnt that it was the dry season (it didn’t exactly feel like it with the humidity in the air) and that there were not sufficient quantities of water available for energy production, turning lights of for most of the city.
Later on, we took a tuk tuk to the genocide museum. If there was only one adjective to describe what we saw it would probably be horrifying. We saw hundreds of photos of people who were tortured and killed, some of which were babies. There were paintings and detailed descriptions of torture methods used, blood stains on the ground and a list of tens of thousands of names of people killed. To say that what we saw was saddening would be an enormous understatement. What was most shocking was that there were people who inflicted this punishment on innocent lives and that the people who committed the atrocities didn’t realise that what they were doing was wrong.
After visiting the museum, to lift the groups spirits, we walked through the city avoiding scooters whilst walking on the road as there were no functional footpaths. We eventually arrived at a restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious dinner of local cuisine. We then returned to the guest house where we were delighted to find that electricity had been restored. Due to the day being quite exhausting (both physically and emotionally), we were all fast asleep, ready for a new day.
Published by Kyle Matkovic