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Friday, October 19, 2007


Confusion & honesty

Having been away from Cambodia for a year it could be said that my Khmer language skills are a little rusty. My familiarity with local prices is also out of touch. This helps me to understand why in some places vendors increase prices for foreigners. This morning I had a plate of bor bor (rice porridge). When I finished I asked, 'Ponman?' (How much?).

'Pram roi,' was the answer.

I had to think about this for a while to make sense of it. I mean, pram roi is 500 reil which is less than 14 Australian cents. If she had said 'pram buan' (5,000 reil or $A1.40), I would simply have paid without thinking about it. So you see, when I first returned, it was easy for me to make this mistake. On several occasions I did. And offered to pay ten times the correct price. On each occasion, so far as I know, the overpayment was returned to me. I don't think anyone took advantage of my confusion.

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