It’s one of the universal truths of travelling, that the longer and more passionately you’ve wanted to see somewhere, the more likely it is to be closed when you get there, or for there to be zero visibility due to rain, or for the building to be under renovation.
However much we want to see the ‘postcard perfect’ version of places, the reality is that staff need days off, the weather is going to do its own thing and old buildings need repairs and maintenance.
So, although it was initially disappointing to arrive at Angkor Wat in January 2013 to find a significant portion of the exterior covered by a green tarpaulin, it was understandable.
It made getting ‘the money shot’ a little more difficult, but our tour guide knew all the tricks. He told us where to stand as a group, and took a family shot of us in front of Angkor Wat which completely blocked the green tarp. It’s the photo I used to send postcards to family and friends back home (using the Snapshot Postcard app)…so the moral of that story is never to believe the reality you see in postcards.
Looking back now, I actually prefer the photos where you can see the tarpaulin as it accurately reflects the huge amount of ongoing conservation work being done by a multitude of specialist organizations from many countries, around the whole Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom complex.
Sure, there will be a bit of scaffolding or sheeting in some of your shots, but this is a small price to pay to ensure that these magnificent monuments survive for future generations.