Old Market - Siem Reap

This stall is in the Old Market itself, or rather on the outer edge as the inside is pretty dark. I am not sure what kind of meat they are selling in this shop, I assume it is mostly beef and pork, but dog is a pretty popular among the locals and the stuff just below the baskets looks like dried fish of some sort. I kind of like how the motorcycle handle bars balance out the baskets in this picture. For this kind of photography I usually use an extreme wide angle zoom lens, my personal favorite is the Nikkor DX 12-24mm on a Nikon DX camera body, the main reason being that you have to work very close to your subject, or there will always be something getting in the way.

I bought a really nice cotton kama (general purpose scarf) from this lady for US$ 3.00. I didn't have any dollars when I visited her shop so gave her 100 Baht, pretty much a straight exchange at this point. When I was younger I used to haggle a lot but now if I find something I really want and it is worth it to me I tend to just pay the price, if it isn't worth the price to me I just walk away.

The pile of small checked scarves in the center of the picture is the one I bought, I had been looking for a basically black and white scarf for quite some time and could not find it in this shop but got it in the shop above later. I had not had one of this particular type of scarf in quite a few years but used to wear one just like it when I was working in this area close to 30 years ago. At that time all Cambodian people used to wear one all the time. Now you hardly ever see anyone wearing them at all, too old fashioned I guess, really kind of a shame because they are incredibly useful in this hot sticky weather.

I am not sure if anything found in these shops is every a genuine antique, but I think it is best to assume that it is not and pay a price that you consider reasonable for an interesting fake. Before coming to Cambodia (or anywhere in Asia) it is probably also a good idea to go to a handicrafts store (like Pier 1) in your own country and check the prices of items that look interesting to you. Many of the items found in the handicrafts and antique markets of Asia are actually manufactured for export and may actually be less expensive at your local Pier 1.

This money changer at the Old Market was very nice but gave me only US$ 28.50 for 1000 Baht. In Thailand I would have gotten US$ 33.00. I should mention, that almost everything in Siem Reap that has to do with tourists is more expensive than it should be, there are exceptions but they are few. I can eat for whole lot less in Thailand than in Siem Reap. I can also get ripped off in Thailand (mostly by hanging out in tourist spots) but it is easier for me to avoid, probably because I know Thailand better and I speak Thai.

In Siem Reap the most commonly used money is US dollars, I also use Thai Baht but there tends to be a pretty lousy exchange rate (as shown above). The small change is given in Cambodian Riel (shown in the display case above), there are approxmately 4,000 Riel to a dollar and you are given 1,000 Riel notes for change. Restaurant menus are in dollars so if something costs US$ .75 you will be given one 1,000 Riel note for change from a dollar. In the confusion, the shopkeepers tend to make out like bandits.
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