dimarts, 16 d’octubre de 2012

Fantastic Cambodia!






In Banlung Alex and me had a lot of fun riding the motorbike, mainly under the rain and in the mud, and exploring the rural areas, villages, waterfalls, lakes, markets and talking to the locals. If I was somewhat disappointed by people from Laos, I was very happy with Cambodians. They are genuinely friendly! They smile at you and say hello whenever they have the opportunity. Sometimes you had to look around to find out who was greeting you. We loved the region and the people.

A Banlung, l'Alex i jo ens ho vam passar de conya anant amb moto, principalment sota la pluja i pel fang, i explorant arees rurals, pobles, cascades, llacs, mercats i parlant amb els locals. Si vaig estar bastant decebut amb la gent de Laos (per no ser gaire amables) estava molt content amb la simpatia dels cambodjans. Són genuinament molt amables! Sempre t'estant somrient i et diuen hola quan en tenen la oportunitat. A vegades has de començar a buscarper saber qui t'ha saludat. Ens va encantar la regió i la gent.




View Volta el mon in a larger map



Our next stop was Kratie where we saw the grey dolphins in the Mekong river. For about an hour we observed these beautiful creatures from a boat. You keep wondering how these dolphins came so far up in the mighty Mekong river. Curious. It was a nice experience, different from the time I saw the pink dolphins in the Amazon.

La nostra propera parada era Kratie on vam poder observar els dofins grisos del riu Mekong. Durant una hora vam anar voltant amb barca pel riu veient una vintena de dofins. Una experiència maca, diferent de quan vaig veure els dofins roses a l'Amazones. Et preguntes, quina raó tenien aquests animals per pujar tant riu amunt?





The day after, with the same guide, a boy with his tuk-tuk, took us for a full day trip to visit the area. We saw temples, we went fishing, we met his family and had lunch at his house, we walked in the countryside, we visited Muslim villages, played with dozens of children, talked to monks, ... it was a fantastic day. And the sticky rice in coconut milk inside of a bamboo stick was delicious!

El dia després, amb el mateix noi que ens haviat quiat i el seu tuk-tuk, vam anar a explorar la zona. Vam veure temples, vam pescar, vam conèixer la seva família mentre dinàvem a casa seva, vamb caminar pel camp, vam visitar poblets musulmans, vam jugar amb desenes de nens, vam parlar amb monjos... un dia fantàstic, d'aquells que acabes esgotat i satisfet.





Phnom Pehn is probably one of my favorites cities in all South East Asia. It's so lively and charming that we extended our stay a couple of days. We had drinks in hotel roof top terraces, we met old friends and had terrible innards with noodles. One of the more interesting parts, but at the same time more painful and emotional, was to visit the two main genocide museums.

Phnom Pehn is una de les meves ciutats preferides al Sudest Asiàtic. Es una ciutat tan encantadora i plena de vida que vam extendre la nostra estada dos dies. Anàvem a passejar pel passeig a la vora del riu, anàvem a fer cervesetes a la terrassa d'un hotel amb unes vistes increïbles, ens vam trobar vells amics i vam menjar entranyes d'animals fastigoses amb sopa de fideus. Una de les parts més interessants i, al mateix temps, de les més doloroses i emotives, va ser la visita als dos museus del genocidi.





In April 1975, Pol Pot, a man that had previously gone to unsuccessfully study in Paris, started one of the most terrible genocides of our time. He killed a quarter of the population of his country, almost 3 million people. He wanted to establish a radical communism. Only the peasants were accepted. Everything related to foreign influence had to be eliminated: cars, motorbikes, jewels, books, musical instruments, watches... everything that came from the devil. Pol Pot was the leader of the Khmer Rouges (because they were communists) and his Government (called the Angkor) ordered the evacuation of all cities in Cambodia and took them to forced work camps and villages. They would work cultivating rice (to sell to China in exchange of weapons) and die of starvation, disease or executed by the Angkor. Their target were rich people, doctors, teachers, other people with studies, people wearing glasses, weak people, civil servants from the former government... families were separated and many women and children were raped.

A l'abril del 1975, Pol Pot, un home que havia anat a estudiar a París sense resultats gaire positius, va tornar amb la intenció de crear un comunisme radical dels més extrems que s'han viscut mai. Va provocar un dels genocidis més terribles de la nostra era durant la qual va matar a quasi 3 milions de persones, una quarta part de la població cambojana. Només els pagesos no estaven perseguits. Tot el que estava relacionat amb la influència estrangera era eliminat: vehicles, joies, llibres, instruments musicals, rellotges... Pol Pot era el lider del Khmer Rojos i el seu govern era anomenat Angkor. Va ordenar evacuar totes les ciutats i la gent es va refugiar en pobles on puguéssin tenir familiars. Altres eren enviats a camps de treballs forçats on plantaven arròs (per vendre a la Xina a canvi d'armes), moririen de gana, a cause de malalties o assessinats pel règim. Tothom era una possible víctima: metges, professors, universitaris, funcionaris, persones que portéssin ulleres... les famílies eren separades i moltes dones de totes les edats eren violades.





In January 1979, the Vietnamese liberated Cambodia from the Khmer Rouges of Pol Pot and the tyrants went to hide at the west of the country. The UN, shame on them, never accepted the new government, so the Khmer Rouge kept representing Cambodia in the UN until 1991. How can it be? How is it possible that assassins that killed almost 3 million people in their own country were accepted to represent Cambodia in the UN? Political reasons are not enough for to understand this huge mistake. The trials against the Khmer Rouges are taking place these days in Phnom Pehn. It's possible to attend. Pol Pot died some years ago without being ever tried.

Al Gener del 1979, els vietnamites van alliberar Cambodja dels Khmer Rojos de Pol Pot i aquests van haver d'escapar-se a l'oest del país. Les Nacions Unides, de forma vergonyosa, mai no van acceptar el nou govern. Per tant, els assassins dels Khmer Rojos van seguir representant el seu país a la UN fins el 1991! Com pot ser? Com pot ser que les Nacions Unides que té la principal missió de mantenir la pau al món van acceptar que uns assassins que van quasi anniquil·lar un poble sencer puguéssin representar-los? La política no és una raó suficient per permetre una tal aberració. Ara tenen lloc els judicis contra alguns del liders dels Khmer vermells. Pol Pot va morir fa anys sense haver estat mai jutjat.





The first museum we visited was the Prison of Tuol Sleng or S-21, where around 15.000 people were kept in tiny cubicles, interrogated, photographed, tortured, and killed. It's so touching to see hundreds of photos of people that have disapeared after being tortured and killed. Sometimes you can see picures of mothers with small babies in their arms. Horrible. Only 7 people survived and the main reason is because they were artists that were asked to paint the Khmer Rouge leaders.

El primer museu que vam visitar era el de la presó de Tuol Sleng o S-21 on van empresonar 15.000 persones, les van interrogar, fotografiar, torturar i matar a sang freda. És terrible veure centenars de fotos a les parets de gent que allà van matar. Moltes fotos són de dones amb bebès als braços i aquests tampoc se'n van escapar. Només van sobreviure 7 persones, tot homes, i va ser perquè eren pintors que van ser utilitzats pels seus butxins, per pintar retrats del líders d'aquella bàrbarie.





The ones that had not being killed in the prison, were taken to the Killing Fields. Other 15.000 people died here, none survived. Music was loud to hide the screams of the ones who were going to die. To save bullets, they were killed with axes, hammers, bamboo sticks or other weapons. Kids were killed smashed against a tree. They were thrown to mass graves, sometimes, still alive, and buried. Today you can see the holes, pieces of clothes from the victims that are unburied by visitors walking by, mass graves with babies and women, decapitated people, skulls classified by ages and gender. None was spared.

Els que no van matar allà, els portàven als Camps d'extermini. 15.000 persones més van morir aquí. No va sobreviure ningú. Posaven música forta per amagar els crits dels presoners abans de morir. Per estalviar bales, la gent era assessinada amb matxets, martells, destrals o a cops de bastó. Els bebes eren matats agafant-los pels peus i estrellant-los contra un arbre. Els cossos eren tirats en fosses comunes, a vegades encara en vida, i avui encara es poden veure els forats de les fosses que s'han obert. També es poden veure torços de roba que són desenterrats pels turistes quan caminen per la zona. Es veuen òssos, dents, calaveres classificades per gènere i edat. Hi han fosses amb dones, altres amb nens, altres amb persones decapitades...




After all this pain, it's admirable to see the friendliness of the locals, their smile, their generosity. Every time I see one of them I think about what they had to endure, how many people of their families they have lost, how many have disapeared and never seen again... I love cambodians and I wish them the best future. But not everything is sad in Phnom Pehn. People are nice, restaurants and bars are very lively, the royal palace is interesting and the markets are great and the promenade by the river is lovely.

Quan veig tot el que van patir, crec que és admirable l'amabilitat del locals. Sempre somriuen i són generosos. Cada vegada que els miro als ulls, em pregunto a quants familiars van perdre, a quants veïens no han tornat a veure mai més o si van passar molta gana. M'encanten els cambodjans i els desitjo un futur pròsper i feliç. Però no tot és trist a Phnom Pehn. Fora d'aquests espais, el món és diferent, la gent és amable, els restaurants i bars estan plens de vida, el palau reial és interessants de veure o el passeig del riu és d'allò més relaxant.




From the beautiful Phnom Pehn we went to the coast, to the small village of Kep, famous for its crabs in Kampot pepper sauce. The crabs were good but the sauce was delicious! We swam, we walked around, and we ate lots of crabs every day! Nice days in Kep even if the village had not much to offer.

Des de la maca Phnom Pehn vam anar cap a la costa, al petit poble de pescadors anomenat Kep. És famós pels seus crancs en salsa de pebre de Kampot. Els crancs eren bons però la salsa era deliciosa! Vam nadar a la platja, vam menjar crancs cada dia i vam passejar pel poble. Van ser uns dies de descans en un poble que tampoc té massa a oferir.




Battambang was our next city and we liked it a lot. What I liked much more was the things to do around it: the bamboo train, the temples, the villages, the ruins or the tuk-tuk rides. We spend 5 days exploring the area. We had such a good time. The people were always the highlight. Then we took the boat to Siem Reap. Despite the hotel clerk and other people didn't recommend it, I loved it! The landscapes were great, the villages interesting and playing with the kids on board is always a wonderful experience.

Battambang va ser la nostra següent destinació, una ciutat que ens va agradar bastant. El millor és tot el què es pot fer pels voltants: el tren de bambú, visitar temples, els poblets, les ruines, els passejos en bicicleta. Vam estar 5 dies explorant la zona i ho vam passar molt bé. Tanmateix, la gent sempre era el millor. D'allà vam agafar un barco per un riu fins a la ciutat de Siem Reap. Ens va agradar molt. Els paisatges eren xulos, els poblets interessants i jugar amb els nens durant la llarga travesia sempre és una experiència fantàsica.



What can I say about Siem Reap that hasn't been said before? The temples of Ankor are absolutely fantastic and our friend Doris, which I travelled with in Laos, came to join us. The 3 of us had great fun and spend quality time together. I'll always remember these days with nostalgia. Everything was fantastic until I got sick and couldn't leave the bed for 5 days. I was annoyed I missed my third day to the temples and I spend my last days of my 3 years trip in bed.... Doris and Alex took care of me. Thank you very much. I love you guys!!!  During these days until the day to go home finally came. This day I had feared so much but waited so much aswell, had come. I was still very weak and ill to travel but I couldn't lose this flight. It was a very hard trip but I tried to sleep as much as I could.

Què puc dir de Siem Reap i els temples d'Angkor que no s'hagi dit abans? Són absolutament increïbles i la nostra amiga Doris, amb la qual vaig viatjar pel nord de Laos, ens va acompanyar durant aquests dies. Tots 3 ens ho vam passar super bé explorant els temples. Sempre recordo aquells dies amb nostàlgia. Tot va anar molt bé fins que em vaig posar malalt i em vaig haver de passar 5 dies al llit. Lamentablement, em vaig perdre el meu tercer dia de visites als temples, però l'Alex i la Doris em van cuidar molt bé. Mil gràcies! Us estimo! Finalment, el dia de tornar a casa va arribar. Era un dia temut i desitjat alhora. Estava molt feble i malalt però no podia perdre el meu vol. Va ser un viatge duríssim però va anar força bé, sense retraços i podent dormir moltes hores.




My lovely family was waiting for me in Barcelona airport late at night. A beautiful moment. Everybody was much happier than the day I left. It would be weird to be home, to sleep in my bed, to have a room or to eat what my mother prepared. This was the end of an amazing adventure... or a new beginning.

La meva fantàstica família m'estava esperant a l'aeroport de Barcelona tard a la nit. El retrobament va ser una moment maco. Tothom estava molt més content que la darrera vegada que ens vam veure en aquest mateix aeroport 3 anys abans. Va ser estrany tornar a ser a casa, dormir al meu llit, tenir una habitació, menjar casolà. Això va ser el final d'una aventura increïble... o un nou començament.



2 comentaris:

  1. Fascinant viatge Marc!!! Et recomano, per si t'interessa, dos blocs de viatges i geografia que potser t'interessen.

    Salut!!!

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    Òscar

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