Hey! I’m Jade. The vegan volunteer =D
Please enjoy a few words on our experience at Angkor Wat.
There are not many things that are worth waking up at 5am for. But a sunrise over Angkor Wat is certainly an acception. We set off at 5.20am on our coached tour bus with our rather good looking local tour guide Ratana… Us girls thought so anyway… Where were we?
… It was almost still pitch dark when we arrived at the ticket booth to get our photo taken for our day passes. Onward we went. As we approached the entrance to the famous temple, I could feel the calm await of surreality. We walked along the bridge across the water. Everything was silent but the faint sound of cars turning up for the sunrise spectacle.
Dawn was barely breaking as the sky began to lighten, silhouetting the first temple. I immediately felt a peaceful yet excited emotion as we passed this ancient building to reach the main attraction. Dan made it known how far less people there were at this time of the morning.
We sat in front of the reflecting river in front of the postcard-like picture and simply sat in awe as the sky turned hues of burnt oranges, warm pinks, and light purples. We were on the right side, which seemed like it was just us and a few other tourists. But when we went over the other side it was packed with hundreds of white lights from the flashes and camera screens of other onlookers. After taking enough photos to cover a whole room we watched on and felt the warmth of the morning sun.
The next hours were spent touring inside the ancient ruins and learning of its legends told by the intricate carvings lining every wall. Up until lunch time we toured the rest of the once capital city of Cambodia, visiting Bayon; the temple of more than two hundred giant stone faces (which we also likened to our own Jane’s facial features aka stoneface), and then Tapr hon; famously known for Angelina Jolie’s movie, Tomb Raider. This one is most fascinating for its fragile stone walls that have been exploded by giant trees.
But what was rather entertaining were two random encounters with tourists. The first was a run in with a blonde Italian guy who constantly yelled “too many people” as he selfishly wanted to take a clear photo. He then proceeded to jump in front of our group photo waving his hands up saying we were taking up his view. One of us said we would be 3 seconds. His reply was “3 seconds? 3 hours!”.
Finally we got him out of our photo. Our next group photo got weirder. It was as if we became celebrities, and the Asian tourists were the paparazzi. There were about 10 of them snapping away and filming us. We couldn’t stop laughing but it did make us feel important. After 7 hours of temples we finished off the morning with lunch by the river, warding off young children trying to sell us post cards and other Angkor momentos. This morning was a memory that will never be erased from my mind, and will certainly be one big photo hung in the living room for decades to come.