After two failed attempts to withdraw cash from an ATM (plus a failed credit card payment - kind of scary), I did manage to get some cash, but in denominations so large that no one could make change for me.
So I got directions to a bank that was nothing of the sort. (It was an exchange agency in a dep.) Anyhow, when I asked the owner if he could break a 100,000 Kip note (not nearly as much as it sounds like), he warned me that he would have to charge me 2,000 Kip for the service. Fair enough. But, trying to get a deal, I asked if I could get change for 200,000 for just 3,000. To this he said no. It would be 2,000.
Flabbergasted, I asked how much to break 300,000. Same price. So I asked if he could break 500,000. No problem.
I told him he was an angel and handed him my cash. He made change. I tried to pay him. He told me to forget about it.
Wow. Am I in a different place.
So I bought water instead. He's got a loyal customer for as long as I'm here.
(All of which leads me to suspect that my theory about totalitariansm may have been wrong. I think what it is, instead, is that I don't like places with a significant tourist population. Which makes eminent sense.)
(Also, having gone to Angkor and had a miserable time, I have given myself permission to forego all further tourist activities and jus spend my days wandering around on foot/bike/transit, figuring out how these cities work.)