I’m in Cambodia now. I just spent three days biking around Angkor Wat. Like many foreigners, you’re mobbed by children throughout the temples trying to sell you books and souvenirs, begging you to buy from them. It’s easy to be annoyed and frustrated at them ruining the peace of your excursion by trying to make a living.
After a day of this, I decided to try to and see if I could get some kids to loosen up, and interact with them as kids rather than just a hassle to be ignored. That morning I biked the 15 kms out to Roulos group. The normal swarm of kids converged on me before I made it to the temple entrance, and then converged again after I left. I bought a soda (to recover from the long, hot bike ride), and then went searching for rocks. Recruiting the kids into my quest, and I preceded to juggle with rocks, entertaining the kids for awhile. The kids quickly warmed to after this, and even prepared some gifts for me out of flowers, and would continually bring me more rocks whenever I dropped (which given the various shapes of the rocks, was quite often...)
The next day, continuing my experiment, I met some Cambodian girls at lunch, and after joking around with them for awhile, talking about their lives, etc, I introduced them to the metal band Volbeat on my ipod and tried semi-successfully to get them to dance with me (meaning two of them sorta did, but the other two didn't). Still all in all it was quite a successful day. Oh, and of course, on the way, I saw some amazing temples like Ta Phom and Angkor Thom and Bayon, etc :)
Side note, the night I juggled with the kids at the Roulos Group, I also met a cool Canadian, who happened to be a magician, so we spent the night with me teaching and showing juggling tricks and him weaving his crazy card magic. Quite a night. Siem Reap is taken over by the western circus.