Put pa pa put put bang…. The last thing I heard before the tuk tuk came to a grinding halt a good 20 kms from Pursat and 5 kms from the nearest town. Of course it happened in the middle of the day (think 41 degrees with a real feel of fry an egg in 5 secs) at the bottom of a hill.
I have an elderly retired teacher to help push, sorry Rob but you’re no longer a spring chicken, and no water to drink. Things are looking bleak.
Lucky for us 4 motorbikes come along with only 10 people between them so they had capacity to help out. Rearranging their passengers from 4 down to 3 bikes allowed us to free up a bike to tow us the 5kms into the nearest village.
It soon became very apparent when we arrived at the “mechanics” that further trouble was yet to come. As I watched him desperately trying to kick-start a ceased motor I had serious doubts on whether he had finished his 4 year apprenticeship in motorbike mechanics. Once the hammer came out I made the executive decision that we would try to get it into Pursat for repair.
The day got better when I realised I didn’t have the key to remove the tuk tuk from the motorbike but lucky my mechanic had completed the training on using a hacksaw and we soon sorted out that problem. His grandparents lived across the road and he quickly agreed to let us leave the tuk tuk there for safe keeping. We dropped it off and I prepared to get towed by holding a rope attached to another motorbike into town.
We asked grandma at the house how much for us to leave the tuk tuk. She was quite distressed by the question and would not accept anything. Our mechanic also was not accepting money at this stage. Not content with only looking after the tuk tuk for us she produced a large bag of homegrown ripe mangoes which were given with a big smile as we hustled out the gate.
I reflected on the generosity of Cambodian people as I was getting pulled along the road by my arm. Even though my hand was painful because the tow rope was cutting off the circulation I was in good spirits as we approached Pursat. A quick ride through the roundabout in the wrong direction, (my tow bike hadn’t seen a roundabout before and was baffled by it), and we were at my favorite mechanics. Unfortunately it is Cambodian new year and he informs me that he can not get parts to start until the parts shop opens. Maybe in 2 days but definitely within 5 is the consensus.
7 days later the tuk tuk is ready to be picked up with a fully rebuilt motor. Wondering if I need to do a quick fundraise to cover the costs, I was pleasantly surprised to be presented with the grand bill for $54. Probably not worth putting in for a marketing campaign to raise that. If you do have a spare $54 lying around and would like to support the tuk tuk back on the road, you can do so in our contribute tab above.
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