A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.
On our last full day in Siem Reap, we had precisely that: all day to do nothing. Our initial plans fell through and we decided to take it easy with a leisurely Old Market stroll and our spa afternoon.
I’m a horrible haggler. I understand the process, but I am socially awkward and I feel awkward doing it. I do love seeing the local markets. There is something both strange and comfortable in it.
About five to 10 minutes’ walk in the sweltering heat brought us to the Old Market. We’d been told it wasn’t the cheapest place to buy things, but we went anyway. Rows and rows of stalls set up in the covered area, ladies calling out to us, what you want what you want, morning “pry” (price), what you want. I bought two sets of five chopsticks for 6 all in, I wanted to haggle down to $5 but she said morning pry ok? And I relented.
I also bought a set of three heart-shaped coconut husk bowls, painted in beautiful colors. I really wanted one of them, a bowl painted yellow with purple flowers, which she said was $5. She had the other two, green and red, and blue and pink. I kept going back to the bowl, but I was afraid of bringing it back home in my luggage, that it would crack and break. I picked it up and put it back down, and she laughed at me and urged me to take it, but I told her I can’t, it would break in transit, at which point she said she would wrap it nicely. It was calling out to me. How many you take, she asked, I give you discown, good pry. I debated, and asked her how much I could get for all three? while internally I thought, maybe $10. Morning pry, I give you discown, bes pry ok? No more discown after, I give you bes pry ok? Good pry, bes pry. I give her a somewhat dubious smile but I am game to see where it would go, and she told me I could have all three for $10.
SCORE. I hem and haw for a bit more for effect, and eventually gave in and paid for all three.
(Feel free to tell me I was still duped.)
The stars of the rest of the day were coconut shakes, a traditional khmer massage, and lazy lounging. The best way to cap off a vacation.