We woke up at 5:30 in the Cambodian city of Siem Reap, climbed into the tuk tuk that we had rented for the day, drove through miles of rural Cambodian landscape in the darkness until we arrived at the ancient sandstone Buddhist temple that was built in the 12th century and has been abandoned since the 15th century. All of my research has come up with different dates, but all sources have stated that it was inhabited for 300-400 years, and that’s longer than United States has been in existence. That was a thought that kept chilling my bones - a place that was thriving for that long (longer than the United States thus far), is nothing more than a tourist destination now.
After finally getting there, I found a spot on one of the on-looking temples as the silhouette of Angkor Wat was illuminated into life by the most gorgeous sunrise I have ever witnessed. It was as if a higher-being was atoning to Cambodia for all the ugliness of war and horrific violence with breathtaking sunrises- a promise of hope for the future for these wonderful people. I remember the whole thing happening in slow motion and in silence. I’m sure that the hundreds of people that were with me were talking and marveling at the beauty as they snapped pictures - but I might as well have been completely alone in peaceful silence.
My entire experience at the ruins in Cambodia was amazing and indescribable, but nothing compared to the sunrise at Angkor Wat. To think of people over a thousand years ago seeing a sunrise over the exact structure that I was looking at was a life changing experience for me.Angkor Wat - UNESCO Site