Done with Siem Reap

Today I:

– Hired a moto to take me to two further away temples for $11 (a good price, both ways).

– Went to Bentay Srei, the further temple. Had an awesome time. Told the teenage boy moto driver to slow down four times over an hours time. Told him a fifth time that if he kept ignoring my request I’d be paying him less. Then told him to stop. I instructed him that I was canceling the rest of the day, and that he would be paid $5 if he brought me slowly back to my hotel because he had brought me 80% of the way. He didn’t like that so I handed him $2 and walked away down the country road. So he agreed to the $5 for bringing me back to my hotel, and he finally went slowly for more than 30 seconds. Nice kid, but drove like a reckless teen.

– ate lunch in town at a chinese restaurant with two americans who are here volunteering. One of them is a Backroads employee out of St. George! Small world story #1.

– hired a moto driver for the afternoon to go visit the last temples (Rolous Group) for $4. They were ok, compared to the others.

So, prices that are regularly being paid for services like moto and tuk tuk rides in this town are astronomical. People are way overpaying and it’s creating expectations or ripoffs. A moto driver can routinely squeeze double the fair. Same with simple things like water. Everything small is quoted as “one dollar”. um, no. One restaurant had three menus. The rip off menu that all white people get first. The cheaper menu that white people get if they object to those inflated prices. And the local menu that I don’t expect to have access to. This dive was asking for $4.50 for what locals would pay a dollar for. The menu that I got finally had reasonably expected prices of $2.50. I rode out to Beng Maelea for free with the guy that I met. He talked to drivers out there to see how much they had been paid. It was: $30 for a moto, $45 for a tuk tuk, $80 for a car. Many people here make $20 a month (I’m told, seems hard to fathom). So for a moto driver to pull $27 bucks for the day after gas, that is some serious money. Short rides to locals here are twenty five cents. So a day of work would likely pull less than two dollars without tourists. And that my friends is why the teen moto driver came here from thailand to work.

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