Touts and Angkor in Cambodia
In one of my usual rituals of visa renewal runs, I decided to go to Siem Reap in Cambodia. I was staying in Khao San Road in Bangkok so it was easy to book one of those vans that run trips to Siem Reap.
We started early morning and the trip was full of western tourists. An elderly guy asked me if I'm a Filipino. He is, so we started talking in Tagalog. I learned that he is a retired lecturer from the University of the East in Manila. He was supposed to go to Australia but his visa was denied so he decided to just go to countries where Filipinos do not need a visa, such as Thailand.
After a short journey, we stopped at the border to have our passport stamped with that important mark they called a visa. There were lots of touts (kids) shouting about a visa stamp service, of which I didn't really have any idea of how it worked or what it was. All the westerners gave their passports with the visa fees to the touts, so Manung, the filipino guy , says, "We'll just use them so we don't have to line-up and wait.
We waited at one of the food stalls and had our lunch. I was getting worried as all the westerners had already gotten their passports back, and our driver was shouting now to get back to our van. After a while, our touts approached us with a gloomy faces that indicated something was not right. We anxiously asked "What's the problem"? We thought we had been denied visas because we have filipino passports. In a very sad voice, one of the tout says, " You don't need visas, so we don't make money from you."
In a sigh of relief, Manung asked me to just give them two hundred Baht each as they're like Filipinos just trying to make a living. Sometimes, having a filipino passport is not that bad. (Philippines passport holders don't need a visa to visit Asean member countries.)
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