The Killing Fields

Today we went to the prison where the Khmer Rouge held prisoners and tortured the prisoners for information. Before I elaborate on that I should tell you some history. The way Khmer Rouge came to be was when the monarch went off on a trip to Russia. During the time that he was gone, military Leaders formed a coup. A coup is when a military overthrows a high ranking official, further more the coup was funded by the U.S.A. The funding money that the U.S.A. gave to the coup, thinking that they would use it to improve the city, but that was a bad move. All the coup did was give the money to the rich and keep it for themselves. Because of that the rich became richer and the poor became poorer. Some of the poorer farmers and peasants ran away into the Jungle and formed the group known as the Khmer Rouge. Soon the Khmer Rouge rose to power and overthrew the coup. During that time the Vietnam War was coming to an end. The Khmer Rouge had had a grip on Cambodia for four years, then they started going into Vietnamese territory and burning villages. Soon the well battle hardened Vietnamese solders completely destroyed the Khmer Rouge in two seconds. That is the end of the history lesson and onto my experience in the prison and Killing Fields.

The first place that we went to was the prison. This is the place where I felt that it was hardest for me. There were a few reasons that I think that I was so disturbed. One was because the guide’s mom had lived through the Khmer Rouge regime and the guide told us that before the regime, her family had 11 members and after the regime her family had four members left. Also the way they were treated was horrible. First, the prisoners were in the prison because the Khmer Rouge was growing more and more paranoid (this was before the Vietnamese came) and putting all sorts of people in the prison as “spies” : common people, other Khmer Rouge officers, rich people and learned people. Those were the reasons that they were there. The way they tortured them was terrible too. First the “cold group” came in and asked the prisoners to tell them that they were spies, and if you did not tell them, you would move on to the “hot group” and they would come and torture the prisoners. They asked NO questions. The torture included whipping them then pouring salt water on them or pulling of finger nails and putting alcohol on the wounds, etc.

The longest the prisoners stayed was six months. Six months of torture and then after the six months in prison they would be shipped off to the killing fields. The only reason you would stay six months was if the prisoner did not tell that he/she was a spy. If you told before that you would told that you would be taken to a new home. All that was crap and what they actually did was blindfold them and cart them off to the Killing Fields to be murdered. That in and of itself horrifies me – to lie to a person only to kill them. It disgusts me. The Khmer Rouge would also wipe out the whole family so that there would be noone to rebel. This included babies and kids too. Babies were taken forcefully from their mother and then killed by smashing them against a tree or throwing them up in the air and shooting them. Usually they killed prisoners in garish ways and without a bullet because back then bullets were expensive.

By the end of this I felt sickened and I hope that you tell other people about this horrific thing because they ought to know.

-hf

Uluru and Kata-Tjuta

As we drive up to the giant rock formation we exclaim in wonder how amazing Uluru is. And thus we started our trip to Uluru! After the five-hour drive to Uluru we finally got there and boy were we ready to stretch our legs! At an art gallery in Alice Springs I had bought a boomerang and I decided to throw it there. I got a bit nervous about hitting someone so decided to put it it away a bit later. Soon it was time to eat. At the campsite there was a little kitchen and we decided to eat there. We also met a few nice people while we were eating.  My sister, my Mom, and I had bought some mint chocolate Kit Kats and we decided to try them out. We’ve never tried mint chocolate Kit Kats before. The Kit Kat’s were very yummy. Then we decided to go to sleep in our swags. Swags are basically sleeping bags on a cot and both are in a canvas bag. The next morning, we woke up, drove to Uluru after eating some muesli and yogurt and went to the dunes hike. After that we went to the guided tour. Before the tour I had to go to the bathroom. The bathroom was about 300 meters from the trailhead and I had to go. By the time I got back the tour had started. The guide told us all about the rock and the aboriginals (the natives to the land) who lived there. I will not give any spoilers about the tour, because you have to find out about it yourself! After that we went to the Kata-Tjuta formation and basked in its awesomeness. This is a formation that is sort of like Uluru, as in a few big rocks sitting in the desert, but totally different from Uluru. The rocks are more like a few giant boulders that have been dropped from the sky unlike Uluru which is one giant mesa. They are conglomerate rocks whereas Uluru is just sandstone. The next day we had to leave the giant rock sitting in the desert, Ayer’s rock, Uluru! And that finished our trip to Uluru.

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Now I think that I should tell you a few facts about Uluru. The first is that some people call this giant rock in the middle of the desert Ayer’s Rock. THAT IS THE WRONG NAME! The correct name is Uluru. You might be wondering why you shouldn’t call Uluru Ayer’s rock. The reason is because the aboriginals, those who lived there, explained that Uluru is a sacred site and we should call it by its proper name.  Two, at a certain hike you can climb Uluru. DON’T DO THAT! The natives to the land ask that you do not climb the rock because Uluru is a sacred place and you are not supposed to climb on it. Also at the Mala hike at ten in the morning is a free ranger tour. Do it. The reason you should do the free ranger tour is that because it is fantasmariffic. Guided by an aboriginal ranger, he tells you all sorts of stuff you would not have known about the rock, gives you an in-depth insight on the traditions held by the rock.

-hf

The Darwin tour (because I do not know what the tour is actually called)

I yawned but what do you expect from someone who’s been woken up at five in the morning to go to a guided tour! The tour guide picked us up from our hotel and once all of the bus had been filled we set out on our journey! As we drove through the town, I read my book. The book that I was reading was “The Baby Sitter’s Club Book Number Three ‘The Truth About Stacy.’”

But once we got out of the city, the tour guide started talking and talking and some more talking. The only thing was that all of his talking was actually interesting and informational. I listened to some of it and the rest of the time I read. The first stop that we went to was the jumping crocs tour. I know that you are probably thinking that the tour was not fun but you are mistaken, the tour was great! And I highly recommend that you do the tour. (I also highly recommend that you read my sisters blog post) After eating some toast and drinking some tea we got on the ship that would take us to see croc jumping. The guides (for the croc jumping we had different guides) told us that we would be having a smaller boat than was usually provided. So then we walked on to the boat and let the tour guides do the work. The second croc that we saw is the picture belowDSC02675.JPG

 

The second croc that we saw was the biggest croc that we saw. In my mind, I was reminded a little of “Jurassic Park.” Gulp. In all, we saw three crocs. The guides were dangling buffalo over the side the boat then jerking it up just in time so that the croc did not get the meat right away. They also had to make them jump a certain amount of times so that the crocs hopefully went away hungry so they catch their own food later. At the end, they fed some meat to the sea eagle that was around and it was amazing! They also fed some meat to the kites.

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After the jumping crocs we went to a little road side shop named The Banyan Tree and ate lunch there. Then after that we went to the fresh water pool. The pool was giant and I did not like it. Also the pool had rocks that you could climb on but it was quite a swim to the rocks but I still made it and only afterwards did we find out that the rocks were sacred and you weren’t supposed to climb the rocks. The next spring was up a little further and there was a rock that everybody dived off of and did it again. It was awesome! The next place we only looked at a waterfall and ate a snack. After that, we went home and that concluded our day!     the end

-HF

 

 

 

 

Sydney

After traveling to NZ we went to Australia, where we flew to Sydney, then will go to Port Douglas, and after that we go to Uluru and finally Darwin. But right now I am going to talk about Sydney. When we arrived at 5:45 PM and, although we thought the weather would be nice and sunny it was raining! So then we got a cab and drove to our new home where we ordered pizza then, after eating it, went to bed. The next day my sister and I were the planners for the day and we decided to go to this very yummy dumpling place and after that we went to the Chinese friendship gardens and after that we went to the best park ever! The park included a gigantic spider web thingy and a flying fox. The flying fox is a thing where you get on a disk attached to a rope sort of like a zipline and at the end, there was a spring so you bounced back to the little platform where you started out. There was a giant thing that sort of looks like a tire swing with netting at the bottom. On the opposite side, past the giant slide, and past the hills with mini slides on them, and finally past the jets of water shooting up you reach this thing me and my sister call the water works. What they are is a ton of little canals with flaps that reroute the water and dams that you pull up to let water flow and past that is the end of  the park! My favorite thing of the park is the giant spider thingamabob because I love climbing and you can almost see the entire park from the top of it. And now this part of the day was not planned by anyone and we crossed the Plymont bridge and then got on to the train to go to home and then on the train lu threw up and that mainly concluded our first day.

The second day mom planned the day because dad also had been throwing up the whole night. So Mom, Lu and I went to the aquarium and when we finished went to a very delicious lunch place that we had happened on it because I needed to go to the bathroom, and while I was going to the bathroom, Mom looked at the menu and decided that we would eat there. It was yummy! It was called the Tempered café and you should eat there for sure. They also gave us  a little dessert and the little dessert had a this top layer of chocolate and then some lime tart then the perfect dash of coconut layer then the crust at the bottom. Then we went to the wild life park and then the best park in the world again!  Then we went for a tour of the Sidney Opera House and saw a kids short film festival there!

My mom said that I should write about how I feel and I think that although I was nervous before I am feeling better about the trip but I wish that I could see all my friends again and I think that this trip will be super fun now that we have started the trip.

 

-HF

The GBR

After a breakfast of lemon raspberry yogurt we got on to the bus that would take us to the gbr. On the way the bus stopped at other hotels motels and holiday inns where people boarded the bus to go to the GBR too! When we got to the port we were informed that we would be riding on the boat named calpyso 10. When we got on the boat we were asked to take off our shoes. Then we were called in to the main deck. We had been warned that the front would be soaked and if you had sea sickness you should sit on the lower deck. Although Lu sort of has motion sickness she decided to to sit on the second deck. (She is a bit crazy) and as we got onto the ocean the guide told us that the boat was much less shaky than the crew had expected, although it was still shaky. Then the guide told us that the back part that was outside would be soaked! So then we moved to the back and waited for the inevitable as you might be pondering was going to the reef and being dropped of to look at the reef. I realized that saying the tour dropped us off sounds like they left us there for an hour. Luckily they did not do that. 
The reef was amazing. They gave us noodles and a wetsuit to swim with. We swam out and took a look at the reef. Before we went in the guide had told us how to use the snorkel and the brown patches were the reef and the blue patches were the ocean. We swam towards what looked like the brown parts. First, we saw this giant thing of coral that stuck out like a thumb from the reef that showed as blue water because it was farther below. It was really amazing. You could compare it to Ayers’ rock. A few meters forward you came into the actual reef. It seemed like it was two feet below you and there were fish all around you. After a good look, lu and i decided to swim back but mom decided to stay out a bit. 
When we got back in, we heard a rumor that food was being prepared for lunch. We got fairly happy at the thought of that but learned we would only get lunch at the second stop. At the second stop, Mom told us it would be better to swim out much farther as we would see more. And one of the guides was giving a marine tour so me Mom and Lu decided to follow the tour. He told us about the coral and the fishes and I felt like that was really helpful and combined with the botanical talk that the other guide gave us during lunch. I gave my noodle to Lu and tried to swim without it but the waves were really choppy and I couldn’t stay afloat so I had to go back to the ship super soon. 
Our third and final destination was probably the most fun I had. Me and mom and lu went out together to explore the reef. We went super far out but then Lu decided to go back and Mom accompanied her so I waited for Mom to come back so we looked through it and there were these clouds of small teeny fish like a blanket. I’m surprised none got into my suit! When we finished we went to the third level of the ship and thought wow! We should have come up earlier. It was windy and dried off our suit earlier and we could see where the reef patches were. 
Then we headed back home. 

-hf

The trip begins

After a four hour layover at LAX we got on a plane to go to New Zealand. The plane flight was 12 hours long, luckily for us we rested on the plane for a bit and that helped combat the time zone change. When we landed we had to wait in a long line for customs and that took a good while, but we were rewarded when we finally got to the breakfast place called the scarecrow and ate a ton. Yum!!! After eating, and a lot of bad temper from Lu we finally were welcomed in to the warm and full of light apartment. After that we decided to crash and after that we went to eat ramen at a ramen place. Also yum! After that we walked over on to a bus and went to the museum, walking up to the museum we met a very nice lady that worked for the museum and she gave us a tour of the museum! After the incredible tour and some exploring the museum we decided to go home and sleep.

Maori meeting houses 

 The Maori, as you might be wondering, (unless you are a New Zealander)were the first to cross the ocean and settle in New Zealand. The interesting thing about the Maori is that the Maori had sailed across the ocean to new land and  the amazing thing was that the Maori had sailed acros the ocean, not in ships like the mayflower but in ships with two pontoons that had a flat deck sitting on the pontoons and that could carry up 100 people at a time. 
 Now enough of that and on to the Maori meeting houses. The meeting houses were used as a community house, or a place of peace, and if you started a fight you would be kicked out until you calmed down. The meeting houses were also considered, and not like a church or a house of worship, a sacred place ,where usually no food was allowed and no shoes were allowed inside and religious ceremonies were held there. The meeting houses were also called by other names such as a wharenui, whare rūnanga, or a whare whakairo. Also the meeting houses all had a name, and that name was usually a legendary hero, a legendary god, of a famous ancestor. And lastly the houses were sometimes given as a wedding gift.



  The Maori meeting house,above, was the meeting house that we saw at the museum. The meeting house used to be panted red for the grand opening of the museum but after months of chipping the museum finally got the original color and now they are weaving new panels for in between where the paint was chipped off. 
-HF

Ocean City, NJ

It was four in the morning and my sister and I had just been roused from sleep to go on a plane by ourselves to Ocean City. After the three hour long plane flight, we landed and were received by our grandparents. They took us to the house that they had rented and we changed into our bathing suits and, while grandma cooked dinner, me, my sister, and grandpa went for a walk on the beach. The walk soon became a time to play at the beach and me and my sister had much fun. But soon we had to go back to the house and eat a dinner of mac & cheese and salad, then we had to go to bed. I woke up next morning in an unfamiliar bed and then I remembered! And at that thought I let out a sigh and thought of my dear mom and dad and how I wish I could see them again.

Soon we found ourselves walking around on the boardwalk, and then getting a surrey, a four person bike, and riding around the boardwalk.

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After the tiring morning we decided to go to the beach and have some fun! And…we did just that.

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Once we had our fill of the beach we went to bed…but not before doing some mini golf, and then fell asleep almost immediately. The next day, after some breakfast, me and my sister found out that we would be boarding a pirate ship and going for a ride. Soon after receiving a eye patch and boarding the ship we found out that we would be fighting pirate Pete so we got out the water guns and blasted him. Although that was not the end of our pirating adventures I must finish the trip now otherwise half of the post will be taken up by them! And (again) we went to the beach after that, and after that we went to bed. (also again) . This time I woke up I learned that we would be visiting Cape May Lighthouse and then go to see Lucy the elephant, both of which were fun.(to learn more about Cape May Lighthouse and Lucy the Elephant,look at my sister’s and my other posts)

Next morning I woke up to the rain and cold, and because of that we were not able to really go to the beach. But we still went on a walk on the boardwalk, and we also went to a bookstore and got five books. And lastly but not least we went to see Finding Dory. We spent the rest of the day (and night) resting. The final day we would be staying had just come around the corner and slammed right into me. Soon we were driving along to get mom at the Tropicana bus center, then we went back to the house. And soon again! I was slammed by realization that lu, my mom, and I had to go soon. And we did we went home at nine.

-HF