If you’ve been to SE Asia, you’ll be well aware of how persistent the street vendors can be, “how much you wanna pay lady, I give you good price” etc etc. It can be exhausting, especially whether you are on a two week holiday or are travelling long term.
This is especially true in touristy areas, like Khao San road or in this instance, the Temples of Angkor, which is where we were on day 124. Read Oli’s post about it here.
We were expecting a lot of hassle and people selling toot, it doesn’t really bother us as after 2 months in India, we felt pretty cocky about our tolerance levels — but we we’re thrown off a bit (ok, in honesty, I was thrown off a bit) because the street vendors in this instance were insanely cute kids! Seriously, Cambodian kids are adorable.
There is obviously a serious side to this though, which is outlined in the Lonely Planet — the children are obviously poor, and supplement their family income by working. They have to work long hours, in the blistering heat (it was 40 degrees when we were there) and are more than often shooed away by people sick of being asked to buy bracelets for “one dooooollllar lady, only one dolllaaar”. The Lonely Planet, as ever, offer a balanced view and leave you to decide whether you buy from them. Apparently the children do go to school, and often alternate with their siblings — however some people will definitely still feel it’s not an appropriate place for children.
What do I think? I dunno, they were kind of annoying Oli after a few hours (we were there for 11 after all) but they sort of charmed me. They were so street smart and feisty, muttering in Khmer under their breath when after 20 minutes of their best hard sell you walked away with nothing, that I massively respected their chutzpah. And honestly, they weren’t begging — I guess you could say it’s similar to having a paper round. Maybe I’m being a bit naive.
What do you think?