My first morning in Siem Reap, Cambodia definitely had to be spent at Angkor Wat with the sun rising majestically over this historical reminder of a by gone civilization.

Hating tour groups, I arranged for an independent tuk tuk driver to take me on what was a tuk tuk/bus/bicycle race in predawn darkness to the entrance of the ruins. After standing in a queue to purchase the required ticket to the Angkor Wat Archeological Complex, complete with instant “I just woke up” photograph, it was another race in the tuk tuk to get to the actual entrance.

Stumbling in the dark with only a speck of torchlight to guide me, I negotiated the cobbled stone path with a horde of likeminded tourists to witness the spectacle touted as a “must do when in Siem Reap”.

Despite my hate of crowded spaces, I endured standing for an hour being jostled, pushed and even touched up, to get that perfect photograph of a sky streaked in scarlet and the surreal reflection in the water of the massive dark structure. How many photographs can one person take standing in one position and not being able to alter the angle of the camera because of the arms, cameras and heads around? I fled after about 50!

The tourists I found draped all over the ruins around the main lake were of more interest to my camera eye. Standing, sitting, or clinging to whatever ledge was available to give a vantage point over the dozens of other heads, there were bodies of people everywhere. I was by now on “people” overload.

The dilemma unfolded when trying to find my tuk tuk driver who said he would be waiting in the parking area for me. When he dropped me off, we were amongst the first few to arrive, so I did not give it a second thought. An hour later after a second coffee from a coffee cart, long minutes staring at a huge advertisement for a marathon run through the ruins, after numerous excursions seeking my driver through all the parked tuk tuks and offers from other tuk tuk drivers to take me back to town, he eventually showed up with a cheeky grin on his face. I decided to overlook his “What, you couldn’t find me, what a shame” attitude, and proceeded to look in the back seat for the boxed breakfast that the hotel had provided for me.

By this time, having been awake for the last five hours, I was more than ready for something to eat on the journey back into town. To my grumbling stomach’s dismay, I opened the box to find it totally bereft of breakfast goodies with a lone scrunched up serviette amidst assorted crumbs. My tuk tuk driver had obviously thought that I had generously left this for him to eat. Argh………

Was it worth getting up for?……Would I do it again?………….A resounding yes.