What makes Cambodia so different from Laos is its relentless street vendors. In Phnom Penh, it was the Tuk Tuk drivers and the motorbike-taxis we had to deal with. Apart from fending them off, they would feed us with incorrect information regarding opening hours etc… and so trying to convince us to go somewhere else with them, of course!
Angkor Archaeological Park was the final test for us. Every trip to a temple was accompanied by the same ritual. Vendors, mostly children, would approach us offering their merchandise: postcards, bracelets, T-shirts, books, musical instruments, table cloths, toys, scarves, cold drinks, food, coconuts, just to name the most frequently ware.
We always thwarted these offers in a friendly manner. Heidi would get in lengthy conversation with children, who spoke good English as long as it concerned their business. What we found most amazing was that these kids had an answer to all our excuses and explanations for not buying from them. It seems as if the had heard it all and were very well prepared!
A typical exchange between vendors, who usually come in groups, each hawking something different, and tourists:
Vendor 1: “Mister, want some water?” Tourist: “No, thank you, we have some”. Vendor 1: “Buy later, okay?” Tourist: “Yeah, maybe later.” Vendor 1: “Remember me, buy later from me!”
Vendor 2: “Okay, buy post cards, one dollar” Tourist: “We have bought some already”. Vendor 2: “Buy more, only one dollar, good price” Tourist: “It is not about the price, we do not need any more post cards”. Vendor 2: “Buy postcards, only one dollar”
Vendor 3: “Silk scarf, two for 10 dollars” Tourist: “We have already a silk scarf”. Vendor 3: “Buy more, for your friends” Tourist: “I do not have any friends” Vendor 3: “Buy scarf, very cheap, good price”
Vendor 4: “Buy coconut from me” Tourist: “I just had a coconut”. Vendor 4: “Buy another one” Tourist: “I am full, I cannot drink another one” Vendor 4: “Then buy one for driver” Tourist: “The driver is drinking one just now”. Vendor 4: “Good price, only one dollar”