Phnom Penh, Cambodia

We had a great time in Phnom Penh.  It is a vibrant, bustling city demonstrating the extremes of both poverty and excess.  You see it all…from a picturesque promenade along the riverfront, the magnificent Royal Palace, exciting street food (including fried bugs, frogs, birds, snakes and tarantulas – and we did watch a British woman eat a tarantula)…. to small child vendors wandering the streets alone at night, seedy tourists plying the sex trade, and widespread begging.  We learned a great deal in this city.  We were introduced to the glories of the ancient Khmer civilization at the National Museum and Royal Palace, as well as to the horrors perpetrated by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge at the Tuol Sleng Museum and the Killing Fields of Choeung Ek.

On grounds of Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
On grounds of Royal Palace, Phnom Penh
Braxton at the Royal Palace
Braxton at the Royal Palace
Along the Tonle Sap River, Phnom Penh
Along the Tonle Sap River, Phnom Penh
At the National Museum, Phnom Penh
At the National Museum, Phnom Penh

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From Braxton’s journal entry on the National Museum and Palace:

Vishnu is the Preserver of the Earth.  Shiva is the Destroyer.  Brahma is the Creator.  They are all Hindu deities.  Vishnu has four arms that are usually holding a conch shell, a ball, a mace, and a wheel.  Shiva is usually holding a trident.  Brahma has four faces looking in the cardinal directions.  We quizzed our dad on what Vishnu is usually holding.  He got three wrong, two right, and we had to tell him the last two.

At the Palace we went into a room that had what the royal people wore.  They had a different outfit each day.  The other room that we went to had an emerald Buddha.  In the emerald Buddha room the floor was made of real silver tiles but they were covered with rugs.  There was a life sized gold Buddha encrusted with diamonds (almost 10,000) but I couldn’t see the diamonds.

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