Every tourist in Cambodia will be able to recite the following phrases within about 3 days of being in the country. The touts probably learn all these lines at seller’s school (we saw a sign promoting the classes). Ready? Ready to be driven crazy, like we were?
“Hey Lady, you buy my things?”
“Hello Madam, you buy nice scarf. One dollar.”
“Angkor book? Only one dollar. (Only one dollar?) One dollar for looking. For reading, I give you good price, eight dollars.”
“Where are you from? (USA) Your capital is Washington DC, your population is 300 million. Your big cities are New York, LA, Chicago and San Francisco.” (They can do this with Australia, Germany, Canada, France.)
“You come back and you buy from me. If you don’t buy from me, I’ll cry.” (This one actually made me laugh.)
“OK, so then you’re gonna buy on your way back, OK? I’ll be waiting for you. Don’t forget you promised to buy from me!”
“Hey Lady, you wanna tuk ride? If not today, then tomorrow?”
“You help me. Help me out and buy from me. Please.” (All said while whining)
“Ten postcards, one dollar. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine ten.” (The kids, usually under six years old, selling these postcards can count to ten in 5 or 6 languages.)
“I don’t want money. I want milk. ” (Said by a child holding a baby and an empty bottle. They want to take you to their pimp’s store, where you buy them something to eat. The pimp keeps the money, shares a cut with the beggar and returns the food to the shelf to sell again. These bug me the most, mainly because they grab you while you are walking. Very un-Cambodian.)
Imagine hearing phrases like these every day, all hours of the day, while on vacation. Enjoying dinner on the sidewalk? Not any more. How about sitting by the river? Watch out! Trying to meditate at the temple? Forget it.
I took a cue from a blog that said the best way to get through all this nonsense is to simply ignore the sellers. They don’t particularly like it, because they expect Westerners to be nice and say “No, thank you”. Yet it works. So, I kept quiet, walked quickly and kept most of my money in my pocket. Whew.
And stop calling me Lady!!