I’m a sucker. That much is true. When the good people of Cambodia approach me with baubles, trinkets, and pedicures, I have a difficult time saying no.
My wallet gapes disbelievingly at me every time, trying to remind me that I no longer have any income. I shush it, pass over the dollar and am rewarded with a brand spanking new braided bracelet – many of which are already threatening to take over my arms and ankles. I tell my wallet they need it more than I do, never quite sure if that sentiment is empathetic or ignorant. I hope it’s the former.
It puts me in some interesting situations sometimes. Duped into a massage parlor in Siem Reap, I find myself being poked and prodded, stretched and pulled around by a teenage boy with bronze bleached hair. In the end he did my hair.
Sitting in a beach chair all by my lonesome in Serendipity Beach, Sihanoukville, I agree to a pedicure. The woman takes one look at my legs, makes a face, and comments on the unruly state of my leg hair. Before long I’m being treated to a threading session for the offending hair on my legs, while a Cambodian boy who calls himself Beyonce is making me yet another string bracelet while he tells me about his boyfriend.
While I hand over the last of my cash (including Taiwanese currency because I’ve already run out of dollars and riel) they try to convince me to come back tomorrow to take care of my bikini line and under arm hair.
Alas, I already have boat tickets to Koh Rong, where I’m sure there will be no shortage of bracelets or Cambodians unimpressed by the state of my body hair.