Taking Flight…

Picture of the Week #85

SubscribeFiled Under: Picture of the Week,by Neeraj

Happy New Year! April 14th is celebrated as New Year’s day in Cambodia to mark the end of harvesting season. I met these children in the outskirts of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, when I visited a place known as the “Killing Fields”.

These little rascals saw my camera and asked me if I could take their picture.  Of course, I said yes and took a picture and they asked to see it.  I showed it to them and they started asking me for a dollar for taking their picture! I felt deceived.

It is easier to separate me from my money by being “cute” rather than deceptive.  I gave them 100 Cambodian Riels to shut them up. On the other hand, I bought 2 small water bottles for 4000 Riels (US$1) each from a cute and smart little girl – it should’ve only cost 1000 Riels each.

When you’re traveling, there is no worse feeling than being cheated.

On another occasion, I was having dinner outside a restaurant in Siem Reap (Cambodia) when a book seller girl came by and asked me if I wanted to purchase Lonely Planet’s “Southeast Asia on a Shoestring” book. The price was $15. I looked at it and it was a pretty good photocopied version. I wanted to buy it so I asked her to give it to me for $8. She said $12. I said $8 again.

Then she said to play a game of Tic-Tac-Toe to decide on a price. If I win, I get the book for $8 (maybe!), and if she wins then it’s $12. It was a deal. The game ended in a tie. She said, “best out of 3”. I said, “fine”. I was pretty confident about my Tic-Tac-Toe skills. Unbelievably, I lost the 2nd game! I was shocked. Back in University, I had written a computer program that let me play Tic-Tac-Toe against the computer. It was a long time ago but I thought I remembered all the strategies to win or at least tie a game. Boy was I wrong.

The 3rd game was a tie and I kept my end of the deal and paid her $12 for the book. That is how I ended up owing Lonely Planet’s “Southeast Asia on a Shoestring”. I used that book a lot when I went to Vietnam and on a subsequent trip to Southeast Asia.

It was well worth the price, although I still wouldn’t pay for the original especially when I can get a cheaper “fake” in Asia.

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Posted by:Neerajon April 15, 2011

6 Comments to: “Picture of the Week #85”

  1. I always travel with LP books as well. It became a tradition for us, we usually buy it before we go. I saw a lot of photocopy versions of it in Thailand.

    I think Thailand is still the country where people were the most “tricky”. There was a scam at every corner…

    • Yeah, lotsa scams in Thailand- but on the bright side, it keeps our mind sharp 🙂

      As for LP books, it’s sort of funny to see every single backpacker in Thailand carrying that (especially on Khao San road). hah

  2. Smart girl. She not only played the “don’t let the customer walk away from the sale” card, but she also played the “I’m on your side playing games with you so you can trust me” card. Nice story.
    Alex recently posted Mississauga Marathon

    • Yeah man, they know all the tricks in the book – talk about “street smarts”! Another trick they use to mellow you out is.. “you very handsome” – it usually works. haha

  3. I wanted to comment on this post, and at last I am here. 🙂

    It always happens with me too. Not only children, adults also demand money after getting clicked. I should also post some of those ‘money making’ pictures.

    Do kids speak English in Cambodia?

    Yet to own a LP book. Mostly I depend on the locals for tips. 🙂
    Nisha recently posted Baarle – A unique town in two countries

  4. The kids spoke pretty good english.. i guess that’s why they have the confidence to try tricks like this.

    LP, just like “backpacking” has become too mainstream these days… there’s no such thing as “off the beaten track” anymore (LP books have a little section on that too)!


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