My former colleague, Ted, often wore a t-shirt he bought from Cambodia that read “Angkor What?”. Though I was aware of Angkor Wat, I thought his t-shirt was simply a play on the name especially for people unfamiliar with the historic Khmer site. Last night while strolling down Pub Street in Siem Reap, I happened upon a small bar where I was greeted by a lovely Colombian-Canadian woman who surprisingly worked there. She informed me of the bar’s menu before I segued into a few questions about her national origin, which is how I learned she was born in Colombia but holds a Canadian passport. Upon further inspection of the bar, I discovered that it is named “Angkor What?” which is how I realized that Ted’s shirt wasn’t just a play on the name, but also a name of a bar in Cambodia.
On the morning of June 13th, I awoke mighty early to visit the site of Angkor Wat to catch a glimpse of the sunrise. I can claim the title of being the first African American visitor to Angkor Wat on that day. Heck, I can also claim the title for humanity as well. I arrived around 4:30am from whence I waited until 5am for the gate to open. By 5:30am I was still waiting to get a glimpse of the sunrise. Then, by 6am I grew tired and hungry and retreated to my hotel for breakfast.
The photos I took are lasting memories of that morning. Although I was he first to arrive at the gate, droves of other travelers soon showed up. The sun rose from behind my vantage point so the sky brightened even before I saw the Sun. I never captured a view of the Sun as majestic as one might imagine. The vantage points did not permit.