Ted Nelson (aka Traveling Ted) had an incredible sunset photo in one of his blog posts on Traveling Ted . We love a great sunset photos and asked him to share some of his with us. For good measure, he threw in a few sunrises and a tale about a sunset in Cambodia. Enjoy Sunsets and sunrises around the world.
On the banks of the mighty Mekong River in Phnom Penh, I was befriended by a young Cambodian. It was just about reaching dusk and a throng of camera touting tourists descended on the water front trying to capture interesting shots of the Cambodian Grand Palace in the waning orange light.
The young Cambodian turned to me and scoffed at the group, laughing that they always showed up at sunset. I did not join in his guffaw as I have many times been one of those tourists looking for beautiful sunset pictures.
Cambodia is a destitute country and after thinking about this encounter in hindsight, I understand why this young man did not appreciate the nightly wonder of nature. If you are fighting constantly to make a living and perhaps even to keep meals on the table, then you do not have the mental capacity to appreciate the beauty of the world around us.
We travelers are fortunate to be able not only to see the world, but also to have the freedom and peace of mind to appreciate mundane events like a daily sunrise or sunset. People who are too consumed about survival do not have the same luxury.
Inevitably, the young man turned from poking fun at the tourists to asking me for money. I really loved Cambodia, but sometimes it was annoying to having every single encounter turn to some sort of financial transaction or request. I shook him off and he walked away with his head down.
Looking back on it, I wished I would have given him something. He was actually a nice kid. The tourist ridicule was good-natured. He was just lightheartedly making fun of people who probably should be made fun of.
This was seven years ago, and the plight of the everyday Cambodian has not left my mind. I remember meeting a bartender at my hotel, and she told me she makes $14 a month. This was at 10pm as I was drinking a beer. I saw her come to work the next day at 7am. That is a pretty long day for $14 a month.
I have taken it upon myself to sponsor a Cambodian 5-year-old in the country. My monthly contribution to her food, living, and education will hopefully free one person in this tragic country. I hope one day she can look at a sunrise and/or sunset like the ones in this photo essay, and appreciate their beauty without a gnawing at her stomach.
Most of the pictures in this essay are sunsets as I am more familiar with sunsets than sunrises. I usually do not see many sunrises when traveling unless I am seeing them from the other side.
Do you have any great sunset photos you want to share with us? We’re always interested in guest Photos of the Week.
Ted Nelson is entering his fourth decade adventure traveling. He has canoed, hiked, and skied all over the U.S. from the Everglades to northern Minnesota and from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians. He has also traveled through Europe and Southeast Asia. Follow his adventures on his blog, Traveling Ted and follow him on Twitter.
Read Ted Nelson’s other guest post for Santa Fe Travelers.