13 Siem Reap= Angkor What

Trip Start Apr 21, 2013
Trip End Aug 28, 2013

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Friday, May 3, 2013

Day 13

May 3 2013

Siem Reap

While writing my daily grind a man walked past carrying a 20 ltr bottle of water. He must be thirsty I thought. I called out to him when he returned and learned he was Manfred from Germany. Mmm A German, well perhaps this is a nice one I thought. Yes, I still have not altered my view on Germans and as expected  this man spoke to me in the typical way Germans do. Manfred barked instead of talked. He  looked stern while he let loose on his view of the world. You need to relax man, I thought, and let your sentences flow and don't  talk like the Chinese do in short burst. Within 20 minutes I heard how he was being poisoned by the mosquito spray in his room and that the residual pray’s would slowly kill all human beings ! Everyzing iz controlled by ze American Government ! and ze people ze believe everyzing. Ok mate I said relax! He had a sore tummy: Zat iz ze fault of ze chemicals! He said, I asked if he drank enough water and explained that in the Australian mines you often see color charts in the urinals so you can check the color of your urine and see if you are dehydrated or not. Yes it eez very Yellow he said.  So you don’t drink enough I said, No no That are ze chemicals. Ok mate &%$#@ Off  and get a life! I thought.

This morning he asked if I wanted to join him for a bike ride to the famous temple complex of Angkor Wat. Ok I said. It beats going alone.  I got a rental pushbike form the office and pumped up the tires.

Before leaving I told him in a direct manner that I don’t want to hear about chemicals today and that he should give the subject a rest. The reason for his sore stomach may be the worry he created for himself.

Again a hot day so the pace was slow. And we pedaled the 8 km towards the temple complex. Angkor Wat is world famous and the largest Buddhist temple complex in the world. The whole complex is surrounded by a 190 meter wide mote (which castle can tip that!)  The complex was abandoned at one stage and "rediscovered “  in the 1800’s . By then it had complete overgrown and consumed by the jungle, this is still evident today.  The site in indescribable so that is exactly what I am doing here. Anyone interested can find more detailed information on the net. On the way back we past another temple like complex. We walked around it and found several walls with inscriptions. It looked like some sort of memorial. Nearby we saw a chimney which is unusual in this region. When we investigated we found it to be a free standing crematorium attached to a hospital. After a check trough the facility (I was glad it was not being used at that moment) we slowly pedaled back to town. It was very hot again so we stopped off in a empty restaurant in the main street. All restaurants have an open front where half of the eating area is inside and the other half on the outside. For a change I ordered a beer and later some food. Manfred did not eat as he thought it would have been prepared with MSG. He pointed to a jar on a table nearby., That’s a jar with MSG he said. I got up and without checking put it in front of and said: You should drop it mate, this is  sugar.  If it was MSG it would be used in the kitchen ! He checked and of course it was sugar. Luckily he decided to leave. A few minutes a 25 year old English guy walked in and sat next to me. I asked him about his travel plan to which he answered that he had been travelling for 6 months on his own and loved it, Money was starting to run out so he would be back on his way to London in a few weeks. Nice guy. I went back to the Hostel, and bought my first souvenir of the trip. A T-shirt showing the Khmer alphabet.

At night I wondered into town. In the market place there are many many shops selling a wide variety of souvenirs ranging from carvings, silverware, statues, clothing etc . One of the things I looked at seriously were beautiful paintings. Going by Australian prices they are not expensive even without bargaining the prices down. One of the young sales guys approached  and asked me if I was interested in purchasing a painting. I said that he did ask me that last night and I had answered we a definite NO so why would it be different today. He laughed. We started a conversation. He said he sold about 10 to 15 paintings a day because there is so much competition. I told him that if I would run the shop I would be able to double this with a few days- guaranteed.  He asked me how that was possible. I told him I had been in sales and marketing all of my life and that if I gave this information I would be working as a consultant. Clients would pay money and because the pay they listen. If they get the same advice free they would most likely do nothing with it. This is my experience.

So I will pay you he said and I will listen but I only pay you if it is good advice and I know you are not trying to trick me he said. Ok Deal.

I continued: There are several dozen shops like yours, all are the same and sell about the same type of paintings so what is needed is to be different. This is my advice, roll up some paintings  (they were sold off the frame)and weight all the sizes (he had about 5 different sizes)  Stick a label on it and now weigh them. Then go to the post office and get postage rates to Europe, USA, Australia, Japan etc.

Ok now make a small partisan in the front of your shop, Make a sign with: we wrap and ship for you!

Now you can offer a service no one has (yet)  Charge an extra dollar per parcel. Make sure you get the customer to fill in their own name and address.  Ok , phase two could be that if you find that people also come around to ask you to send other things it would be time to set up several small offices around the three market areas so people can get the things wrapped and sent off overseas. In the end everyone will benefit. The guy looked at me in silence with his mouth slightly open. I leave you to it said and see you back in half an hour or so.  When I returned later he was beaming, Fantastic, great he said. I will pay you, you can have any painting you like, does not matter which one.  Meanwhile he served a French couple who made an enquiry. I asked them if they would be more interested to buy if it was wrapped and sent for them , Straightaway they answered with a definable Yes!  I was interested myself but this very reason was holding me back. I did not want to take advantage of the situation and choose a small 30x 30 cm painting of one of the Angkor Wat statues. His happy face was the reward not the painting. A while later he spotted me on the way back and run over and thank thank you very good very good.

Now let’s hope he follows through on this.
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Mitchell on

Ze germans...... hahaha

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