I must say, the forcefulness of children selling their wares in the Angkor Wat Temple compound really caught me off guard. Before I had one leg out of the motor-taxi, a handful of children rushed toward me and began showing me their tour books, postcards, cold bottled water, scarves and so forth.
They were surprisingly good and English and knew many world capitals.
"What is your name? Where do you come from? I know the capital of your country."
After this brief time of introduction, we were shown their wares and if we said no, thank you, they pressed us with many reasons to buy from them.
"I sell you cheap! You need cold water! See my postcards!"
After many attempts to say no, they moved to encouraging us to come back to them after visiting the temple.
"Don't forget my book!"
"Don't forget my postcard!"
"Don't forget my water!"
"Don't forget my something!"
Upon our return, these street-wise kids remembered our names, and if we still said no, they said, "You promised to buy my book/postcard/water/scarf!"
It could be frustrating except that I knew that Cambodia has seen great hardship, and these children are only being obedient to their parents. As much as we could, Christine and I tried to engage them in normal conversation. They were pretty bright kids, and often even if we didn't buy anything ultimately, they would wave good-bye cheerfully. Sweet kids.
I won't forget them, although I might forget their "something!"