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The sun finally breaks over the central tower, rays flooding the grounds of the ancient temple, illuminating everything in the most glorious golden glow. The sandstone changes colour as the light does; first a cool grey, then a rich earthy brown. It’s blackened in places, and its edges smooth, worn by millions of hands and the elements over the better part of a millennia.
There is a soft hum – the hushed voices of many – talking in reverent tones as they watch the scene unfolding before them. The birdsong of bright melodic calls, all totally unfamiliar, adds adding to the incredibly exotic, otherworldly atmosphere. Looking among our group, there’s a sense of deep introspection, that each and every individual is coming to terms with just how extraordinary a place and moment this is.... understanding and acknowledging how incredible it is that Angkor exists at all, let alone almost a thousand years later, in the middle of the hustle and bustle of our modern world.
As the sun gets sharper the magical reverie is broken and our group starts to stir, keen to begin our ascent, and to discover the unknown universe of Angkor Wat awaiting us.