A small number of us shuffled bleary-eyed at the dark hours of 4 AM onto the bus, and back to Angkor Wat. We were going to catch the sunrise — one that, when lucky, is supposedly so vivid that it’s as if the sky were “an exploding volcano of ruby red magma” (Steven’s description).
We weren’t the only ones. It was cold, in the high 30’s, low 40’s. We puffed small clouds of condensation, alongside dozens of other eager, amateur and professional photographers waiting in the wings for their next Instagram or 500px hit.
The waning moon faded into gradients of blue and purple that began to color the sky, the silhouette of Angkor Wat traced in the background. Wrinkles of clouds folded in the peachy colors of sunrise.
It had been an hour at this point, and slowly, but surely, the rounded head of the sun began to peek over the horizon. Inch by inch, it ascended.
Although we weren’t able to see the “volcano”, we left Angkor Wat no less fulfilled. A perfectly still moat captured the sky.