An Eye-Opening Experience

Written By Joe

The day we left the island we traveled back to Kratie and on the way stopped at a wild dolphin watching spot. We learned that in Cambodia there are only 92 Irrawaddy dolphins left. Although we didn’t get to see much besides dorsal fins, we were excited to have experienced this. Joe made a friend with a local who gave him a sugar cane juice for free!

The next day we left Kratie for the bustling capitol city of Phnom Penh. We arrived at the hostel and for the first time all ten of us roomed together. That evening, some went to the internet café while others went to the Night Market. Claire G. also cut Harrison’s hair!

The morning of the 7th we all hopped into Tuk-Tuks with the infamous Pouv (Karen’s friend) and rode to the Cambodian Center of Human Rights headquarters (CCHR). The morning was full of presentations about CCHR, the work they do, and the Khmer laws. That afternoon, we traveled with two CCHR representatives (Panha and Hongkong) to S21, a former school that was used as a torture prison during the Khmer Rouge. With heavy hearts we toured the campus guided by an audio tour. Afterwards, the representatives gave us a city tour and explained projects of reconstruction that are being done by many private companies.

On the 8th we went to the Killing Fields. Guided by another audio tour we walked around the area seeing graves, bones, and description boards. It was hard to process the horrors that occurred in what now is a beautiful, nature filled area. In the afternoon we travelled to the Documentation Center of Cambodia and watched a very interesting documentary about Rock and Roll artists and their experience before and during the Pol Pot Regime. By the end of the night Madi, Kylie, Claire G, and Paulina all returned with cool, matching Ray Bans.

The 9th, most of us said goodbye to Cambodia and hello to Vietnam while others… Kylie, Claire G, and Lucas… had to turn around and head back to Phnom Penh for a night because of a couple expired visas. Whoops! Fortunately, they joined us to experience the walking street the next day.

Ho Chi Minh is alive and some, like Sammi, would say that it’s their favorite place we have travelled to so far. To give some perspective of the amount of people in this city from 1950 to 2019 it grew from 120,000 to 1,250,000! The streets are large, the traffic is heavy, and the food is delicious. Bryley, Audrey and Paulina tried Pho for their first time and Claire C tried a typical Vietnamese pancake. Madi and Sammi enjoyed their night on a lit up rooftop overseeing the city. Joe and Harrison explored the surrounding areas and discovered a park with pretty lights. Meanwhile, back in Cambodia, Claire G, Kylie, and Lucas watched Easy A on the bus. Last night, Lucas, Claire and Kylie finally arrived in Ho Chi Minh to reunite with the group!

Today we join up with Tan Tao University for our first week of adventure in Vietnam!

The squad posed in front of a statue of King Norodom Sihanouk in Phnom Penh.
Kate ensuring all of our bags don’t roll out of the Tuk Tuk.
Kate and Lucas with our amazing friend and driver, Pouv.
A photo of the Walking Street in Ho Chi Minh at night where we all spent most of our time.
Lucas taking in the intensity of the surrounding area and its living conditions.
A commemorative stupa filled with the skulls of the victims at the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.
All of us with the CCHR reps and our new rainbow kromas that they gifted to us!