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Although Cambodia is still plagued by factional infighting and corruption it has come a long way in the last 20 years. We stop for lunch at “Friends,” a restaurant that not only serves great tapas, but also provides former street kids with training in the hospitality industry. Outside, a group of school children is painting murals and as I watch them I think of their parents. When they were the ages of these kids they were being trained as child soldiers. They witnessed the deaths of their families and had neither schools nor enough to eat.
Later on the grounds of the Royal Palace I found a quiet place to sit and unwind. Watching the saffron-robed monks strolling serenely through their manicured gardens I try to put the genocide out of my mind. If I had not actually seen the torture chambers of S21 and the killing fields of Choeng Ek the whole thing could have been just a chilling dream.