Meet Suti, he wants to be tour guide when he grows up. He’s only 16 years old and yet he’s been working as a fish massage attendant for awhile. Working at night by taking care of the fishes, he also persuades customers to try out the massage service. He currently lives with his grandmother as his parents are no longer around. He does this in order to provide for her as well as support his studies.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Suti, a Khmer kid making ends meet.
It was our last night in Cambodia. After a long day of walking and after a stressful experience of haggling with vendors at the Night Market, we decided to spend the remaining hours at the Pub Street looking for a massage service.
Massage parlors: foot massage, body massage, spa services. Cambodia has lots of them at ridiculously low rates. If Philippine massage spas are cheap, you haven’t visited Cambodia. You can get a body massage for a dollar but I’m not too sure with the quality. Still, there are so many services and shops available that everybody’s competing with each other to attract more customers.
Suti approached us after noticing that we were wandering around. He offered their fish massage for 3 USD each but we still haggled for half the rate. After consulting his boss, he accepted our offer as it seemed that we were going to be their last customers for the night.
We dipped our feet in the water while Suti went out for a jiff. When he came back, he sat beside us bringing a bag of fruits (what seemed like Lanzones but actually not) that we took a few glances on. Upon noticing our curiosity, he offered the bag to which we picked some without hesitation.
That’s when our conversation started and that was when we we’ve come to know about his story and his life. I was astonished by his demeanor. Still kind and friendly despite how we forced them to give us a cheaper price. He still offered the food that he brought even if it was only good for himself. If I can still recall, I believe he mentioned earning around 50 USD a month which he uses to buy what he needs to contribute and survive.
minding the conversation more than the pampering
“I study during day and I work at night. I take care of the fishes. One day, I’ll finish school and learn different languages so I can become a tour guide.” He has a positive outlook on things despite many misfortunes.
Den, Doi and Suti
Instead of highlighting our experience in the fish tank, we focused our attention to this hardworking boy. He served as an inspiration and made me contemplate on the time when I was his age. The mind is fresh and dreams are endless. I pray that he keeps his idealism intact and not get swayed easily in life. I guess Suti represents every Khmer kid who wishes to overcome obstacles in life through perseverance and hard work.
This is one of the many memorable stories in Siem Reap that I would’ve missed out on had I not pushed through with the trip.
Here’s a couple of comprehensive guides about Siem Reap:
- Tips and Things to Know about Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Digital Nomad Life: One Month in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Check out my other adventures here:
- Quick Update from Bousavy Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Siem Reap and Bangkok Chronicles
- Getting There: Cebu to Manila to Clark to Bangkok to Aranyaprathet to Siem Reap
- No Ordinary Train Ride From Bangkok to Aranyaprathet
- Bangkok to Siem Reap: Avoid Scammers from Aranyaprathet to Poipet Border
- Where to Stay: Bousavy Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Where to Stay: Victory Guesthouse in Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Cambodia Trip: Angkor Thom Gate, Bayon Temple and Elephant Terrace
- Cambodia Trip: Trees in Ta Prohm Temple, Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Walking Barefoot at Angkor Wat Temple
- Cambodia Trip: Pre Rup, Banteay Srei and East Mebon Temples
- Cambodia Trip: Haggling Prices in Angkor Night Market
- Cambodia Trip: Those Khmer Kids Selling Merchandise
- Cambodia Trip: Chill Out and Relax at Pub Street in Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Insightful Conversations Over a Fish Massage
- Cambodia Trip: Land Mine Victims
- Cambodia Trip: A Guide to Eating Cheap Khmer Food in Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Engrish and Random Sights in Siem Reap
- Cambodia Trip: Shuttle Bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok, Thailand
- Total Budget Expense in Siem Reap, Cambodia
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soloflightEd.com is a travel blog by Edcel Suyo. He enjoys performing headstands and crazy stunts during his trips in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Now based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and working to earn a living, he takes time to enjoy the city and travel during weekends.
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