When the travel bug first hit me I wrote down all of the places I wanted to visit in a 150 destination Global Bucket List. Who would have ever thought that this wouldn't end up being enough? You can find the list by reading my blog: A Tale of 2 Buck ...by dcampMonday, 14 October 2013
I think I must have been about 12 years old when I first started to seriously dream about traveling. It all started when I went with a friend to an enormous used book store (more like a barn) near my home in New Jersey. It was here that I came acro ...by dcampSaturday, 14 December 2013
My obsession with traveling around the world came from two primary sources – both books. The first was Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Vern and the second was A Vagabond Journey Around the World by Harry Franck. Both of these books made it abu ...by dcampMonday, 15 July 2013
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step” - Lao Tzu. Well, after months of planning I’ve finally taken that first step. Now I find myself in a foreign city on the first day of my Wanderjahr. Thankfully (due to smart planning) ...by dcampSaturday, 20 July 2013
On my travels throughout the world, I've seen many, many great sites, met a lot of interesting people, and tasted lots of food (some good and some not so good.) Although I certainly am not a fruitarian, I do have a keen eye for fruit – and on my tra ...by neytiri12345Wednesday, 02 October 2013
Zoos are a place that we've all visited at one time or another. Some are good, some not so good. Well, over the weekend I cam across a place that made me look at the keeping of animals in a whole new light. It's called the Pearcedale Moonlit Sanct ...by dcampTuesday, 02 July 2013
Yes, I've been meaning to write a followup to my earlier blog post "Sunsets" – but, you know how things always get in the way... been busy travelling, you see... A personal goal of mine has been to see a sunrise on as many continents as possible, an ...by foamfollowerThursday, 25 July 2013
At one point or another everyone dreams about exploring the world and experiencing all that it has to offer. I first developed the travel bug when I was a young boy and its stuck with me for my whole life (and I'm not exactly a young boy anymore). ...by dcampFriday, 13 December 2013
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I don’t think I’ve ever visited somewhere that inspired a stronger sense of horrible and isolation as the place I visited today. The fact that it started out as a school makes it all the more chilling. It is formally know as Tuol Sleng, but most people refer to it simply as S-21. It is the prison where the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia brought anyone they felt was plotting against their regime. Sadly, most of these were innocent members of the population who wanted nothing more than the freedom to express their opinions peacefully. The Khmer Rouge tolerated no such freedom and ruthlessly tortured and killed anyone who challenged their supremacy – both Cambodians and foreigners alike.
Now, some 30 years after the last of the horrors were played out there is an odd sense of serenity about the place. The landscape of the school is finely manicured and benches are situated in shady spots around the perimeter of the grounds. However, there is no way to disguise that fact that between 1975 and 1979 over 17,000 people were brutally tortured and murdered here, with only seven known survivors. If there is anywhere in the world where the souls of the dead would linger on in anguish it is surely here. It is something that you are hard pressed to ignore as you wander through the quiet halls of the museum, which the school grounds have now become.
During my visit two things particularly were burned into my mind – probably forever. The first was a series of pictures of those who were brought to S-21 and never knew freedom again. While there were hundreds on display, it was the photos of a handful of Westerners, mostly tourists, who were captured by the Regime that made the strongest impression. The look on their faces can only be described as utterly devoid of hope. While still alive at the time of the photo, it was as if they were already dead. There are no words to describe it.
Any visit to the Statue of Liberty is guaranteed to be interesting; after all it is one of the most famous icons in the world. For a change I decided to take the ferry from Liberty State Park on the New Jersey side. The statue can also be accessed just as easily from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island. I’ve made the trip from the NY side several times in the past and decided to get a glimpse from a slightly different perspective this time around.
The trip to the statue takes about 30 minutes over flat, still waters – longer if it’s rough. The green tint of the statue’s oxidized copper shell is unmistakeable and visible from an amazing distance. As you draw closer to Liberty Island the size of the statue becomes clearer and you realize what a feat it had been for the French to construct it, transport it across the Atlantic and then have it reassembled in its present location – all-in-all quite a gift. Perhaps we don’t give the French enough credit, although I don’t know if I’d say that too loudly.
I did the mandatory climb up to the crown to experience the amazing views over the Hudson River, all the way to Manhattan Island. If you are planning a trip to NYC this has to be at the top of your ‘must do’ list. It is the classic NY experience, along with visiting the Empire State Building and Times Square. However, on this occasion it wasn’t famous landmarks that had drawn me here. Instead, it was a quest to learn more about my family history.