Day 71: One Dollah, You Buy?
Trip Start May 20, 2008
77Trip End Aug 19, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
After hill climb to see one final epic view of the temple, but again too much overcast for sunset, the day's bike ride around Angkor ended. There is much detail I have left out however, all involving the merchant children blanketing the park selling their various knick-knacks.
- "You hungry for lunch?"
(a horde of kids from competing restaurants attack)
- "Come eat here!" "No, here!" "Here!" "You hungry?" ... and the classic: "but I asked you first!"
- "Hello, where you from?"
- "Capital of California is Sacramento. Capital of US is New York. Population of US is 300mil. US speaks English. Capital of Michigan is Chicago. Okay you pay me money?"
- "You buy book?"
- "No, sorry."
- "You buy hat?"
- "You buy sunglasses?"
- "You by scarf?"
- "You buy something to drink?"
- "You buy some food?"
- "(ignore, patience buckling)"
- "You buy postcard?"
- "We're students, we don't have much money. But look! Those tourists are rich, you'd be better off asking them! It was nice meeting you."
- "Ok bye."
(child merchant leaves and begins pestering the adjacent tourists while we escape)
- "You buy postcard?"
- "But I can count, one two three four five six etc..."
- "Ooh very good, no postcard though sorry."
(interaction ends, as we pass another pair of annoyed tourists being followed by an army of child merchants, ALL of whom are counting)
- "Yes I'll buy the two guidebooks, all I have is 1,000 Thai Baht bill though."
- "Okay you give me 1,000 baht I change for you and give you $1." (the exchange rate is $1 = 33B)- "Ehh hah don't think so."
- "Haha you smart tourist."
And the best of them:
10yr old Kid: "Okay you park bike for free here if you buyone water from me, $1."
Jeff: "Alright, see you on our way back."
Kid: "Okay thank!"
(we spend an hour in the temple & return)
Jeff: "Okay here's your $1 for the water."
Kid: "No you promised $2!"
Jeff: "No, I promised $1..."
(kid becomes VERY angry)
Kid: "Why you change your mind so fast? You liar. F#CK
YOU! F#CK YOU! I not let you park bike here again!"
Jeff: "You be nicer to older people..."
Kid: "YOU A F#CKING MAN! YOU KNOW! F#CK YOU!"
Oh, those merchant kids...
Following Angkor & slightly getting lost on the bike ride back, we wandered around town for a bit poking through markets and spying for a cheap place to eat. In the market we both decided to get shirts. Bargaining was no different than in Nepal or the other SE Asian countries, except that this one uses the US dollar as its unofficial main currency... so instead of trying to bargain them down 30 baht (for example), which is equal to $1, you're actually using the words "Two dollars is too expensive, I can only pay one dollar." Now, in this part of the world, that's a lot of money (enough for a budget restaurant meal), but it was the first time I really felt how arbitrary the bargaining was. It's necessary though because A: wallet is broken & B: if $1 is the normal price, paying $2 contributes to worse local inflation. You're expected to be courteous and not haggle them down to the last cent, but even if it's only a $1 rip-off, it's irresponsible tourism to allow yourself to be ripped off by one meals worth of local currency. Or so Lonely Planet, the word of the Lord blessed be it sayth. Makes sense to me, though it's going to be hard accepting a $30 bill for one grocery run when I get back to the US. Also, sidenote-ish: According to the merchant, Cambodians hate Thais & Chinese and don't get along well with Vietnamese. Laos, Cambodia's equally impoverished, sparsely populated northern friend has similar feelings and has bonded with Cambodia over their mutual trouble with more powerful bullying neighbors.
Swimming pool time ended the night, and it was off to Battambang on a Mekong ferry tomorrow.
Food Poisonings = Zero
Malaria Vaccine = 50% complete
Green Tea Milkshakes = 3
Bug Bites = Less than expected
Bug Repellent = Almost gone in Siem Reap, totally gone at the time of writing
Bugs = Less mosquitoes than I thought there would be, Nepal probably boosted my mosquito tolerance
Burritos Craved = Many
Homesickness Meter = Reduced since Jeff's arrival but yeah... a burrito would be nice.early bedtime was necessary.