Savvy Little Salespeople in Siem Reap

by Vitra on December 8, 2014 · 0 comments

And by “salespeople” I mean the young boys and girls that hang around tourist spots to hawk their goods.

“Ay, laaady … you buy this.”

This was a phrase I heard over and over (and over) again from children during my 5 days in Siem Reap, Cambodia – especially at the major temples sites.

It’s easy to dismiss these disheveled little characters at first glance. But after they tail you from start to finish, all you want to do is give them the $1 USD for a book of postcards, bracelets, or flute. Their persistence is worth the dollar alone.

The more I think about it, these sales-savvy kids could be the future of Sales, Business Development, or Finance at multinational corporations and Fortune 500 companies, given the right opportunities. Unfortunately, those opportunities may never be a reality for these kids.

On several occasions, I apologetically said, “I’m sorry. I already bought one.” The response was always, “That’s okay, laaady. You buy another one from me.” The first time this happened I was so amused and impressed that this young girl had the foresight and business sense to respond in such a confident way. It was only after a few more temple visits that I realized this was standard operating procedure!

Usually when one child approaches, a handful of other children will also gather. They are all vying for attention, all trying to close the deal. Eventually, hubby and I came up with a method that worked for us. We would let them follow us all the way to our tuk-tuk or car. Once we were about to get in, we would pass $1 to the child who had been pursuing us from the start, hurriedly take whatever item they handed us, and then drive away. On one such occasion, my husband saw the little winner giddily stick her tongue out at the other children and skip happily away.

What has been the most interesting hawker experience you have encountered during your travels?

Here are some images from Siem Reap:

Ta Prohm
Angkor Wat
Banana Chocolate Pancakes
La Dolce Vitra
Fruit Stand
Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Altar
All images are Copyright 2014, LaDolceVitra.com. Please do not use without permission.

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El Nido has been at the top of my travel list since going to Boracay and having local there tell me that the best waters they have seen is in Palawan. If local Filipinos are saying this, there’s got to be something to it, I thought.

As today is my birthday, my hubby and I thought it would be nice to visit El Nido leading up to my big day. The problem we saw was that El Nido has essentially two tiers of travel – backpacker or Five-Star. Neither extreme seemed right for our style – at least not over the course of 7 nights.

In his research, hubby found a boat expedition which would entail 5 days on a boat from Coron down to El Nido. The upside of this was the ability to see and explore of the most remote parts of Philippines (dare I say the world?!) The downside – sleeping at base camps on different beaches each night, bucket showers, bucket flushes for the toilet. Not to mention that getting seasick is a norm for me, and oh yes – I’m afraid of getting into the water to swim or snorkel.

In exchange for agreeing to all of the above, I would in-turn get two nights at the best hotel in all of El Nido. We decided to go for it, acknowledging ahead of time that we could likely expect to feel discomfort and challenges during our expedition.

We just returned two days ago, and I’ll give more details in future posts. But what I can say is that, looking back, it was a great adventure to take before my birthday. It allowed me to face some fears, test my patience (many times), and feel discomfort and vulnerability in the face of mother nature. But it also opened my awareness to nature that I have not previously experienced, and gave me a greater respect for a simple way of living that has been largely lost in the west.

While there were challenging moments (feeling as though I were going to hyperventilate under a mosquito net; sharing a toilet with a toad; coming face to face with a monitor lizard; fighting against the current to get back up on the boat which was especially hard since I can’t swim, etc.) – the payoff at the end was worth it. I definitely earned my two nights at our nice hotel. Expedition-ing is hard work, but sights like this make it worth it:

View from El Nido Resorts View from El Nido Resorts

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