Greetings from Cambodia and Angkor Wat, Cambodia June 30 2007

Dear family and friends!

In Phnom Penh we found more of interest than expected. We stayed just in front of the royal palace with its beautiful buildings and where we could walk on 5000 kg of silver which the floor was made of in the Silver pagoda. After some interesting markets we visited the tragic old Security 21 prison - Tuol Sleng - where Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge regime tortured and killed 17 000 people between 1975-78. The hatred and cruelty made us feel sick and uneasy.

We now have arrived to Siem Reap which host the Angkor Wat area which probably will make it to one of the "new" seven wonders of the world. The Angkorean period lasted some 600 years from the 9th century and the Khmer empire was one of the great powers of south east Asia. From the down fall of the Khmer empire, nature has tried to retake its domains. The enormous temples such as Angkor Wat, the largest religious building in the world, was all covered with jungle when the French "rediscovered" the temples in 1860. We were astonished by the enormous structures all covered by carving and filled with statues. Almost 400 000 workers and some 40 000 elephants were working on Angkor Wat alone. Many of you have probably seen some of the more overgrown temples, which was the setting for the last Tomb Raider movie.

Outside Siem Reap we visited a floating village. People had floating houses but also floating schools, churches, police stations and pig farms. The floating structures were placed in the river mouth going out in Cambodia's biggest lake, which almost felt as the sea. It was very obvious for us that the people were living below the poverty line. The children were all naked and the brown water from the lake was used both for cleaning and bathing. At the same time we met a lot of happiness with playing, laughing and waving children. We can really see the difference and we're grateful to have been born in Sweden with enough food, education and having a steady income.

Despite the often very poor hygiene with cooking and cutting vegetables and ice with their bare hands and often tons of flies, we have been lucky enough to avoid food poison. We'll see how long that'll last. On the other hand Hanna imported a Swedish virus, better suited to attack our immune system, which has bothered her with a slight fever and a sore throat. Now it has become Emil's turn to suffer and cold with fever. Despite these minor problems we are enjoying our non-planned relaxed days in Cambodia.

Love Hanna and Emil