The Sun Blazes Over Angkor Wat
I snap up a guidebook to interpret the wonders I am bearing witness to, flipping constantly back and forth, listening to the pages whir by as I search, then devouring the words describing the ancient civilization at this exact spot when I find the right passage.
Like an already-hyper kid in a candy store, my eyes dart from marvel to marvel on the pages and in real life: towers, windows, doorways, sculptures, walkways, balustrades, lakes, islands, courts, cisterns, shrines, and roads going every which way.
My enthusiasm and leg muscles simultaneously begin to wane as the day nears its finish, and my guide suggests a spot from which to watch the sunset. I climb up and sit on the edge of the steps. Tired. And happy.
The Sun Sets Over Angkor Wat
Afterward, I while away thirty minutes chatting and hatching plans to watch the sun rise tomorrow from the ruins with my newfound friends, traveling girls from Australia, Germany, Canada, the UK and Italy.
The Sun Rises Over Angkor Wat
While waiting for the sun to grace us with its presence, I end up next to a Taiwanese family and we strike up a lively conversation about everything from 吳哥窟 (Angkor Wat), 新年 (Chinese New Year), 台灣生活 (life in Taiwan) and 旅行 (travel). I spoke more Mandarin here in Cambodia than I have anywhere outside of Taiwan, and loved every minute of it!
With zero fanfare, the epic moment has arrived:
The sun peeks timidly over the trees, saying “hi” and waving at us with its shy orange glow.
And suddenly it is worth every second of the early awakening, the cold dark ride and the long wait. My companions and I are awestruck at the beauty and remark longingly and admiringly about what this place must have been like during its Golden Age.
Shortly, the triumphant sun completes its journey from behind the trees, and begins dancing over the ruins with its dazzling yellow-orange rays. Words fail utterly at describing this moment with justice.