Life in Cambodia
Life in Cambodia is very hard. Wages are very low, generally about 3 USD per day. Siem Reap has got power but many local villages are still without it and don't have any sewerage either. Your guides and drivers usually tell you stories about their sad lives expecting you to feel sorry for them and give them some money. Our driver admitted to us that one French couple is paying for his english lessons but he doesn't want to attend them. He was working 11-12 hours per day, so we are not even sure if he would have time for it.
Lots of people, mainly kids try to sell you either postcards, books or simple jewellery they made themselves. Sometimes they can be annoying but you have to remember that it is their only source of income. We found out that if you keep ignoring them, they are not too pushy and usually leave you alone.
You can buy souvenirs on the old and night markets in Siem Reap and "silk" scarfs are around 3-4 USD each in comparison with 24 USD for the cheapest real silk scarf at the Silk Farm. The crocodile leather wallets in some shops are around 70-80 USD while in proper shops they can set you back around 300 USD.
A pack of 10 postcards from the kids is 1 USD while in the book store you pay 1 USD per postcard. Hawkers will offer you books about temples with a starting price of 25 USD but they very quickly decrease their price to 5 USD per book.
Tourists get generally ripped off when buying fruit on the local markets or in front of temples. Sometimes they ask 1USD for 2 pieces of milk fruit. Our driver confirmed, that locals pay peanuts compared to the prices they charge to tourists.
Petrol is around 1.20 USD per litre so it's expensive for the locals with low wages. Lots of people dream about buying a tuk tuk and a motorbike because then they can earn around 12-18 USD per day which is considerably higher than they would normally earn.
Foot massage in the city is around 3-5 USD and body massage around 12 USD. It is considerably more expensive in the hotel but still quite cheap for westerners.
Beer in supermarkets is around 60cents and Red Bull is 50cents. Their Red Bull is completely different to the classic Red Bull you buy at home though. It is extremely sweet and has a strange taste. I didn't like it.
Below are kids returning home to a local village from school (please notice the boat driver) and an old lady also returning from her fishing trip.
Locals generally burn all their rubbish which creates smog in the area and in the dry season, the dust from roads makes visibility dangerously low.
It is not unusual to meet monks in most temples. They are genuinely friendly and polite and normally don't mind if you take their picture.
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