We all rose well before dawn in order to see the sunrise over Angkor Wat. Our wonderful local guide (the self-described former “boss” of Angkor) knew just who to bribe to give us all access to the top level of the temple, which is no longer open to tourists. To say the experience was breathtaking is an understatement.
And finally, our guide Ly (nicknamed Yoko, since 20 years ago he was one of only 25 car owners in all of Siem Reap, and his Japanese car said “Yokohama” on the side). From a school class of 42, he is one of only 4 survivors of the terrors of the Khmer Rouge, who also killed his father. Every time he spoke of those terrible years, he wept copiously and mopped his tears with his scarf. One can scarcely imagine the horrible things he has seen, yet he repeatedly reminded us of the ethos of the Cambodian people: “Love and friendship, compassion, sympathy and equanimity,” qualities he himself seemed to possess in abundance.