Friday, December 17, 2010

Angkor What?

Angkor Wat.
A massive temple located near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Why did I come here? Fellow backpackers that have been there say it is the "bees knees!" A "must see!" etc.

This morning I woke up at an ungodly hour (4:30 AM) to see the Sunrise at Angkor Wat. I stood there in the dark, listening to Explosions in the Sky (music not actual explosions), anticipating the rising the sun. As the sky slowly lit up, I understood why so many had recommended that I extend my trip to include this wonder of the world.

But as I stood there, looking around at how many people had gathered behind me, I began wondering how I got here. Not to Angkor Wat, I remembered how I got there ($7 tuk-tuk, that's how). The question was really: how did I end up surrounded by tourists, at this tourist attraction (which is historically important, of course), taking pictures that many others before me have taken, and feeling generally apathetic towards it all.

I think it came down to the lack of originality and the fact that I wasn't really taking in the experience, I was just taking pictures.  I came to Cambodia to see Angkor Wat. I could have spent another week in Laos, easily and I feel like I need to be enjoying myself to prove that I didn't make the wrong choice in coming here. Originally I had planned to spend the entire day beginning at dawn exploring Angkor Wat but as the sun finished rising I realized that I couldn't force myself to enjoy an experience. I want to want to Angkor Wat, to choose to explore it and really enjoy my time there. Had I stayed all day today I think my memories of Angkor Wat would be much more jaded. So, since I have a three day pass, I've decided that when I feel like going to Angkor Wat I'm going to take a bicycle there and then, instead of doing what people tell me I should  do, I'm going to do what I feel like doing.

1 comment:

  1. Brittany, YES! This is actually something I've been struggling with this trip - I feel like I have this imaginary discourse of all these people saying "you were there and didn't do this?!" Because you know what? It's my trip. And in my trip, I did not go on a safari in the Serengeti, because I wasn't feeling it. Hopefully as I continue to travel I will feel more secure in making those decisions. In the meantime - solidarity!
    - Andrea