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Fear and loathing in Cambodia (29.06.01 - 06.07.01)

Part three: Selected excerpts of my conversations with Gunter

These are selected discussions and small talk that Gunter and I had before we would doze off in the evenings.


Peng: Why travel budget when you can afford five-star luxury?

Gunter: Nowadays, I go for the worthwhile deal. In the first class setting, you are confined in a capsule. It provides you with more than what you need. You don’t get to mingle with fellow travelers and exchange information like you would in a guesthouse. I used to do budget when I was younger (he meant in his 50s) when it’s challenging and worthwhile to explore.


Peng: What do you think is the extent of the effects of the tourist dollar to a country?

Gunter: The difference between the affluent tourist and the poor here in Cambodia has to meet somewhere, and most of the time, it’s the drugs and sex and the touting where we would converge. The girl that was pestering me, she said, “But you are not helping me?” I just bought some postcards from another child, but I’m not here to help you. I’m not here to solve the problem. It’s too big a problem to solve. In Bali, the argument is: “Make my day, make the first purchase. It gives me luck.” I’m not interested in buying just for the sake of giving you good luck.

a cambodian young boy waiting for the next traveler to earn some money

Part one: From Poipet to Siem Reap

Part two: It's tiring to travel in Cambodia

Part four: Off the rocks

Part five: The worst boat trip of your life

Part six: A final word

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