The Khmer girl who stole my Heart and my Tripod!!

During one of my backpacking trips to the temples of Siem Reap, Cambodia, I came across this Khmer girl who was selling some hand made trinkets around the temple. For some reason she decided to leave her mother behind and started to follow me and my friend around the entire temple.

After a while, probably after realizing that I was safe enough to approach, she just jumped in front of me, took my tripod away from me and handed me her plastic bag with more conviction than a six year old should be capable of. And so I was forced to follow her around the temple (which I was pretty happy doing) and she seemed to know the place pretty well. Thankfully, I made friends with a french backpacker who was also travelling solo and we decided to team up for a day, she was kind enough to capture some of the moments for me:

The little girl was already demonstrating her expertise by setting up my tripod (or at least trying to), playing with all the knobs that were on offer, and finally When she was done fiddling with it, the number for my camera was up! She snatched it away with the same conviction she displayed earlier and started walking away with my camera. Lucky for me, I still had her plastic bag in my hands as insurance. Haha!

It’d be interesting to note that this temple was “Ta Prohm”, the one
where the movie “Tomb Raider” was shot and this little lady right here
wasn’t any less bold than Jolie herself in that movie.

She found herself a comfortable seat after walking around through the maze for a while, and signalled me to come sit by her side and started fiddling with the camera, trying to figure out where the shutter button was. She’d get visibly annoyed if I tried to show her anything, and soon went on a shutter spree taking hundreds of photos of the fascinating dirt and rocks all around her, occasionally pointing it towards me or Gabrielle. The funniest thing, she’d quickly hand over the camera everytime her mom passed by, and would be equally quick at reclaiming her prized possession as soon as the threat was gone.

Soon the camera would be pointed at me, and voila.. I was the proud owner of hundreds of out of focus photographs of my ears and eyes. It was hilarious because I think she was trying to photograph my brain.

It was getting late and we needed to move on with our tour, but I still wanted at least one portrait of her to remember by. Probably sensing my urgency, she handed the camera over to me and signalled me to take her photographs while she posed.


I didn’t expect the photographs to be anything more than a memorabilia, yet the little Jolie outdid herself in the photo-session. She was by far the best poser I’ve ever photographed in my life, period. I bet she would have made a great model thanks to her boldness had she grown up in some other part of the world.

Believe it or not, I didn’t direct her to a single pose, that was all her! The entire set of emotions that you see here was performed well within a minute, and if that’s not potential I don’t know what is! Unfortunately, it was time for us to part but not before I bought a souvenir from her shop. Sure they were overpriced, yet nothing compared to the memories I left the place with.