Cambodian Scams

When I was doing research about Cambodia there were lots of articles about scams and things to look out for. I read so many warning about landmines in Cambodia that it seemed if you stepped off the sidewalk you would set one off. Which is not true, if you are in a more rural area it is not advised to step off the beaten path but in Siem Reap they’ve gotten rid of most of them. Landmines are a huge problem in Cambodia. Another thing I read about, were all the scams. Since Cambodia is a third-world country and tourism is a recent industry, scams are abundant.

One of the scams they say to look out for is the milk scam. The milk scam is when a child or a woman with a baby will approach you and ask for milk. They will take you to the the nearest grocery store and ask you to buy them the most expensive brand of milk. After you have left them with the milk, they will give it back to the store owner for half the price of the milk. I’ve met a few people who have fallen for this scam and in several hostels they have notices about the scam because it is quite common.

I had to go back to Cambodia April 29 to renew my visa. It was just a quick visit, arriving Friday, touring Saturday, and back on Sunday. Monday I was to start my new job. This time I took a plane instead of a bus. It was a quick one hour flight and I didn’t have to take off my shoes for security. I did get stopped at security both ways because I had a lock in my backpack and I guess it looks weird on their monitor so they had to search my bags.

I spent the day touring on Saturday; I did the large circuit tour. It was quite interesting. The temples had a different style of architecture than the small circuit temples. As the day progressed, the sky got darker and darker, the temperature dropped, and the wind picked up. It was nice to tour the temples without the sun brutally beating down. Right as we were leaving the last temple, it started to rain. The tuk tuk driver had to put up the rain cover so we didn’t get soaked.

We made it back to the hostel as it started absolutely down-pouring. The rainy season is right around the corner! I napped and lazed around the hostel as it rained all afternoon. After the rain stopped, I went out for dinner and to wander around the market for a bit. In Siem Reap, there are tuk tuk drivers everywhere; they stand on street corners and call out to you as you pass because walking everywhere is weird. Usually, I just smile and decline, and they call out to the next person. However, this time as I declined, the driver decided to follow me down the street. He kept asking where I wanted to go, if I wanted to smoke something and kept listing all these drugs I have never heard of. I finally lost him by cutting through a market.

I stopped for a fruit shake on the other side of the market. As I was waiting, a young boy came up to me and told me he wasn’t asking for money, all he wanted was some milk because he was hungry. He kept trying to get me to go with him to the grocery store with him for some milk. I told him I didn’t have enough money (which was true, I had enough for the shake and the tuk tuk ride to the airport the next day). He got really angry, said something nasty in Khmer, and spit at my feet. The woman at the shake stand gave me a pitying look. Why me.



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