Another early day. I woke up well before dawn and met my driver, Phirun (A beautiful name tha means "rain") out in front of the hotel. For the next few days he would ferry me about the Angkor area in a tuk-tuk.  We got to Angkor Wat well before sunrise and I was treated to the full moon setting to the west.

I saw the sun rise over Angkor Wat, the Mother of all Temples.  The sun came up, majestic and slow, and gradually revealed the scope and scale of my surroundings.  A pretty neat way to be introduced to the largest religious building in the world.  Dating from the first half of the 12th century, the site is both a temple and a tomb for Suryavarman II. The site occupies 500 acres.

 I walked around at random, even leaving the complex and venturing into the surrounding jungles to see what that felt like. Heading into the central part of the temple complex, monkeys gamboled around on the balustrades and terraces. The carvings here are stunning, simply stunning. As cheezy as it sounds, I found myself letting out involuntary gasps of wonderment. Think about the last time you let out an involuntary gasp.

Copyright Estate of Anthony Vail Sloan 2009