My new love: sunset

6 Jan
Sun setting over Tonle Sap lake

Sun setting over Tonle Sap lake

I was a bit wary of traveling on my own after hanging out with a whole bunch of people all the time in Phnom Penh. But the first day I arrived in Siem Reap, who do I meet? – the Belgian guys from Brussels whom I met at the Killing Fields (small world) so we went for coffee and cake – such a small world. And besides that, who should be alone in the time and age of internet… I also met up with a guy I got to know on internet. Always good to go accompanied (or maybe I don’t like to be alone, or maybe I don’t like myself, or I don’t like the sound of silence… Something to think about).

This Cambodian friend of mine had studied in Taiwan and was fluent in English – on top of that he was inbetween jobs, so he had time to show me around. Great. What was even greater is that he came

Floating Fishermen's Village

Floating Fishermen's Village

to pick me up in his (parents’) car, so we could go freely around the places. He took me to see the floating fishing village on the Tonle Sap lake. This lake has a quite central and vital role in Cambodia as it provides irrigation, transportation and feeds many people. It is also unique as it has turning directions: in the rainy season the water from the surrounding mountains flows from the lake to the sea – but in the dry season the sea water flows back into the lake…

On our way back from the fishing village, at around 17h the sun was setting, and he said he had a surprise for me. He told me to follow him and up we went on a hill next to the lake. Even at sunset it is not very clever to do lots of physical exercise because of the heat, unless you are playing in one of those impossible deodorant adds. Sweat was running down our backs – but when we reached the top of the hill, the effort was well worth it.

Ancient temple on top of the hill

Ancient temple on top of the hill

There was an ancient temple (Angkor Wat style, but more cute and small) with the sun setting behind it. At the edge of the hill, the cliff was dropping steep below us, and we had a gorgeous view of the lake and the fishing village, with the sun lighting up the scenery in various shades of warmth. It was at that moment that I realized that I had found my new love: sunset…

It is amazing what a sunset does to me… When I see the sun go down it makes me calm and relaxed. It is as if I wind down at the same rhythm as the sun goes down, like I am connected to same dimmer switch as the big lamp of our universe. It makes me turn inwards – I get completely reflective and philosophical – smooth therapy. And the best of it all is that it comes for free, every day again and again.

  • When I come back to Belgium, I need to find some great sunset watching spots in Brussels or Europe – anyone has suggestions?
  • More lovely sunsets – for example at Shihanoukville
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