The headline means Hello, written so English speakers can pronounce it.
“Are you okay?”, said some American as he walked in back of me down the steps of the Phnom Pehn’s memorial.
“Yes, I’m doing fine.”
“You don’t look so good.”
“Well, thank you.”
Sure, it was rude, but he had a point. I wasn’t as ready for the day as I should have been, and I forgot my hat and sunscreen. A pain pill would have been nice, as well. It was hot and humid, my face was red and I walked funny. Not to mention how unpretty it is to see my get out of a tuk tuk.
But it was a day of learning and an opportunity to see Phnom Pehn’s history from my teacher and guide, Sophak Touch.
A flower from a tree similar to the tree a woman named Phnom Penh found in the river in the 1400s and where the city’s name came from. The tree is called the Buddha tree.
We saw the royal palace and the grounds, where the colors on the buildings are yellow and white – the national colors of Cambodia. Memorial’s where ashes are placed of former kings and can be seen on the grounds.
I especially liked the long mural that was painted many years ago by 42 artists. It has faded through the years, but you can still see the history depicted in the art work.
Sophak took me to the Genocide Museum to see the ghastly prison,that was operated under the ruthless leader, Pol Pot. We saw the cells, some of which are barely as large as a closet. People stayed here until they were taken to the killing fields and murdered. It’s a dark place and dark history, that is still a memory to many Cambodians, who’s loved ones were victims.
To have record of Pol Pots work, he seemed it necessary to take photos of every prisoner, both men and women. There are rooms full of photo after photo of people who eventually met their death. The eyes told the story of their fear, or the hope they had from the lies they were told. It’s a sad statement on the wickedness of the regime.