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My taxi driver, Vuth

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Elephant at National Museum

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The Killing Fields Memorial

PHNOM PENH      I entered the country with no guide book and was at a loss.   I first asked at information for the price of a cab into town -- $10.00 -- but I saw all sorts of drivers outside waving just five fingers.  I took that option and the cab driver took me to one of the cheaper hotels in town -- very adequate.  By the time I finished eating, most of Phnom Penh had shut down.  I strolled out of the hotel and met a motorcycle taxi driver, Vuth,  who wanted to talk.  He was one of the victims of Pol Pot.  Both parents were killed and so he lived with his grandmother. 

Vuth showed up the next day -- well before breakfast.  His driving was great; there were no scary moments during the entire day.  I first checked out the Russian market for good souvenir shopping.  Silver seemed to be the item of choice.  Then, I headed for the Killing Fields memorial, something I thought had to be done while in Cambodia.  The drive was lovely into the countryside.  The terror had long since ceased but I was sure it scarred many lives.  One million people were killed. Now, in a very quiet rural setting was a pagoda.  The inside held a glass shelved structure filled with human skulls.  The nearby area had several sites of mass graves.  It was such a contrast of peace and terror.

We toured S21 (the torture headquarters for Pol Pot), the Silver Pagoda (as impressive as anything in Bangkok), ate sour soup, and located the International and American Schools.

Vuth's suggested the National Museum.  This museum, as beautiful inside as the building itself, reminded me of the National Palace in Bangkok withoutl the tourists.  All too soon, it was time for Vuth to take me to the airport.  On some vacations, with some of my purchases, that could not be done on the back of a motorcycle taxi.  

Copyright 1998 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.