Cruising the Mekong

Cruising the Mekong

The boat stopped in Phnom Penh for a few days.  The capital of Cambodia was busy with every sort of vehicle.  There were no red lights but yet traffic moved with chaotic precision.  I visited the presidential palace and grounds, viewing the gold buddhas and artifacts.  There was lots of gold.  I took an excursion to a killing field against my better judgement.  It was gruesome.  In the middle of the area was a several story high glass cylinder full of skulls and as I walked the grounds I could see bits of cloth, bones and teeth leeching from the dirt.  There was an awful smell to the place.  I visited one of the prisons in the city where the Cambodians were tortured before being taken to the killing fields.  Every Cambodian with whom I spoke had a story to tell.  Cambodia is a very poor country.  Education is not compulsory and most of the population is very young.  The per capita income is less than $800 per year.  The shopping is great.  I visited a jewelry store where Angelina Jolie shopped and purchased a Cambodian ruby ring for little over $100.  It is beautiful.  Not many tourists were visible in the Cambodian capital.  The many tourists I observed in Siem Reap were from the east, very few Americans.  The Vietnamese are allowed to travel to Cambodia, Laos and Thailand.  That is the limit.