Siem Riep, Cambodia

Expectations

5.00 AM

The alarm sets off.

It is still dark outside.

I hop on the bike I rented yesterday and ride it towards Angkor Wat. Today’s goal: see the sun rise over the beautiful ancient temple.

As I approach the historic site, the fresh morning air wakes me up completely.

Here I am now, standing in front of one of the most beautiful temples in the world. I can barely see it as it is still dark outside but the sun is slowly rising from behind it and I can start to appreciate its shape.

The sky turns violet and orange.

Oh, the bliss of solitude, the poetry of the rising sun and the mystery of the ancient temple!

I take it all in.

I take some perfect Instagram shots and go inside the temple. As I wander around, I get lost and I’m transported back in time.

An amazing experience I’m going to share with my Instagram followers and with my grandchildren when I am old!

Reality

5.00 AM

The alarm sets off. Why didn’t I go to sleep earlier last night?

I hop on the bike I rented yesterday and ride it towards Angkor Wat. Today’s goal: see the sun rise over the beautiful ancient temple.

It’s still dark outside and I’m already sweating like a swine.

On my way, I encounter hundreds of bikes and rickshaws carrying people from all over the world to the same direction.

I hope they’re not going where I think they’re going.

But they are!

I pay the entrance fee. It’s expensive but I can afford it. They pay good money for kidneys, after all!

I’m finally there! And no, I’m not the only one. Half the population of China, Europe and North America has decided to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat that same day!

Racist thoughts I’m ashamed of flood my mind.

Oh, bless them!

The sun is finally coming up. The sky turns into a beautiful canvas and I wish I was not color blind so I could enjoy the full beauty of it!

How do I take an Instagram-worthy picture with all this crowd around me?!

Go home, annoying tourists!!!

Inside

It’s time to visit the inner and upper part of the temple so I get in line.

Forty minutes.

Forty long minutes!

Annoying tourists everywhere!

Go home!!!

But then I suddenly realize… I AM AN ANNOYING TOURIST AS WELL!

P.S.: Angkor Wat is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. Yes, it is packed with tourists but it is still worth visiting!

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