Monday, February 20, 2006

Dispatches 7: Massages and Land Mines

Two weeks in and my forth massage, damn I'm a spoiled brat. Well its my first massage in Cambodia and after three full days at the temples I was stiff as fuck and we deserved it! The problem here is finding a place that won't also want to give my dad a blow job along the way. We decided that massage from the blind was the way to go. Its strange but its a really big thing in Cambodia. There are these massage from the blind places everywere and apparently some of the cash goes to orgnaisations that help with blind people getting training. Believe it or not todays massage was the best I had ever had in my life. At first the women was a bit slow to get started, figuring out where my body is I'm sure and there was this moment were she was beng really ruff where I had got my first sun burn. I was grumbling to myself that there was no was to really explain the situation, I have no Khmer and she has no english, we might be able to speak a bit of French to each other but she can't see the burn and well body language isn't going to work so well. Both my dad and I walked out of the place in slow motion. Fuck if massages were this cheap in Dublin I would go once a week for sure!

Today was supposed to be a day off; between traveling and temples. Of course I ended up at the landmine museum in the afternoon. This place is very interesting. It was all started by this one guy. He was at different parts of his life part of the Khmer Rouge and other times with the Vietnam army. While he was with the Khmer Rouge he was forced to put out landmines. I suppose out of an extreme sense of guilt he started this museum. He had loads of weapons and army gear that he had stolen while he was in the army and he sees it as his mission to rid the country as much as possible of the mines so he actually goes out and dismantles them. All the ones he distroys he also has in the musuem. At this place he also has a school for kids who had limps blown off by the mines or became blind as a result.

I was really taken aback with the bruality of it all. There were stats from around the world based in 2001 that said something like 30 people a minute fall victim to them. Cambodia was 4th on the list of number of causalties. Iraq was number one by a long shot. Part of the musuem was the story of the Khmer Rouge. I have avoided blogging about it so far since I am tying to get a grasp of what happened. Last week I went to a detention centre and then the next day to the killing fields. I'm not going to write about it now except to say that the Pot Pol gave Hitler a run for his money in human torture and genocide of a people.

This is something we don't hear about as much as the Nazi's. When I still need to think about it? Is it that the Jews are more white then the Cambodians. Is it that Germany is more western then Cambodia. Is it that it was communist vietnam that came and liberated the people so nothing is black and white? Is it that they were killing themselves and other another group or a minorty group? I'm sure some of these are part of the reason and I'm sure there are more political reasons that you might need to understand more of the political climate now and then to fully comprehend.

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Comments:
hi Tobias,
wanted you to know i'm enjoying your thoughts. R
 
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