Listen to Pilot Light

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Email from a tuk tuk in Phnom Penh

The other day I got an email from Phnom Penh (Cambodia). It was part of irregular correspondence I keep up with my favorite tuk tuk driver, Thet. We exchanged greetings, I sent him a photo of our house in snow and he let me know that his wife was back at work. She works in one of the clothing factories and the workers had been on strike for some time.

Naturally all that made me think of them, and the time in Cambodia. So you get to hear about it.

In this video I posted a while back he was taking us to the Russian Market. The tuk tuk is absolutely the best way to get around Phnom Penh in my book. In the video you'll see that a lot of people prefer the motodops (a ride on the back of a motorcycle) and that can be easier and cheaper, but I find the tuk tuk feels safer and is just as much fun. And still inexpensive.

Here he is on his tuk tuk texting on his cell phone while he waits for us to come out of the guest house, as usual.

It's lovely to stay in touch. We have so little in common, but always enjoyed each other's company. We bought him an ice cream on a stick from Sorya one day and learned he'd never eaten ice cream before. That became clear when he suggested he'd save it for later. The next day at the market I bought him a REAL snack from a vendor squatting on the floor cooking them next to the fish vendor. Those were good too.

The next time I go to Cambodia you can be sure I'll send Thet an email and make sure he's there to meet me at the airport. People like Thet and his wife made our life easy. Whenever we'd go to the city, he'd meet us at the bus station and be on our payroll for the entire time we were in town. In the photo below, we'd bought a screen at this store. Delivery isn't an option at most stores, and the clerks had no idea of how anyone would get anything large to a place outside of the city. We told Thet (on the right) and the same day he put us in touch with a friend (left) who had a van we could rent. They showed up that morning at the store, helped us load the screen (for a piece Dagny was making, of course) and we all drove to Kampot.