Written from the ancient steps of an ancient temple, while watching the steady flow of people and waiting for the sun to set.
There was a really cheesy Nia Vardalous rom com called My Life in Ruins. She plays a tour guide in Greece. The movie isn’t amazing, but there’s a part I’ve always liked. When she’s standing with her tour group at the Acropolis in Athens, someone asks her why she loves that place. She said that if you close your eyes you can hear the wind passing through, and it’s the same wind that people have heard and felt in that spot for centuries. This is why I love visiting history. You stand in a spot and think of all of the people who have stood in that spot throughout time. You wonder about the conversations that have taken place, the brilliant ideas thought up, the tears shed.
I had this same feeling while waiting for sunset at Angkor Wat. I sat on a stair case built in the 12th century. Who else has sat there over the course of 900 years? How many people have watched the same sunset, from the same spot? Pretend the tourists are the citizens of the original city, pretend the cars and tour buses are wagons and animals, and you could be in the 12th century.
Before the sun set I wandered through the temple for a second time. There were less people there in the evening and I had a chance to examine more details. And the line to climb to the top was shorter now. I like climbing to the tops of things. I’m never disappointed. That is my one piece of advice: Always climb to the top. I got a great view of the whole temple as the sun was starting to set.
There might be better spots to watch the sunset from. From where I was, the sun set over the moat and road, not over the temple. It was still pretty great though.