Tout- attempt to sell (something), typically by pestering people in an aggressive or bold manner
|Thai/ Cambodian border|
Strategies vary- some smile, some cajole, some threaten consequence, or give exaggerated and false information to justify an excessive fee. The presupposition all touts adhere to is that it's a short game/con and the goal to extract as money as they can; good faith bartering largely absent.
A British couple (the only Westerners to cross the border in the half-hour I was there) bargain on our mutual behalf for a ride to Phnom Penh. The tout negotiates hard, they back at him, while I sit back, slightly bemused, witnessing the acrimonious fight over a few dollars. At last we get a price we can all agree on.
"Hey, at least he speaks English," I remark as we're escorted to a SUV. Our tout barks at an older man sitting nearby in Cambodian, gruffly ordering us in as he hands the keys over.
"Apparently not," remarks my new British friend.
We're faced with a bait and switch, a driver who doesn't speak a word of English. When we complain, our tout barks back that we'll get where we need to go and walks away.
|Not too far from the border, crossing a bridge|
|vast expanse of trees :)|
The ugly part of Cambodia as we near Phnom Penh
|packed cattle car full of garment workers|
The reason for the traffic- factories letting workers go for the day. Look at how packed all the cars are
We arrive in Phnom Penh in the evening at the crowded river waterfront, the commercial center of town. Our driver has no idea where our hotel is located. We find a tuk-tuk driver who speaks English who sees our hotel name, and tells us it's quite far (4 km away) and demands $4 to take us there. "We can't fit three people plus luggage into your tuk-tuk," I tell him, "our driver will follow you and we'll give you the money upon arrival."
Three blocks later we pull up to the hotel. 4 km huh? I give the money to our driver as a tip instead. We walk away, I turn around to see a verbal scuffle over the bills. Our driver soon hands them over. Fucking Touts.