I took a nice leisurely ride on my new bike yesterday.
Well, I thought I was going to be… Just 30 seconds into the ride my tyre went flat. Without any tools or repair patches, how do I fix this? I asked a local, (using hand gestures) as to where I could go to get this fixed. He pointed and rambled something in Khmer. I parroted the same word, ‘watt tipet?’ — I still don’t know what it means. He said some thing else, turned around and walked off.
So off my bike, I pushed it in the direction he pointed to, and ended up at the market. Someone here must know where I could get a puncher repaired. So using hand gestures and pressing on the flat tyre, I repeated watt tipet? Another man corrected my pronunciation and pointed to where I should go. So I trundled off in the same direction I was originally going.
I came across a shop, that looked like it was a car mechanics. Asking them where I should go by using hand guessers and squeezing my flat tyre I was given the same reply. I just had to continue travelling north.
I came to an intersection, looked to the right and I saw a guy on the side of the road. With a huge smile the guy jumped up, grabbed my bike, took the tyre off, pulled the tube out, filled it with air and immersed it in water.
At this point, Robert called and asked how my leisurely ride was going? After telling Robert the experience he said it would cost a whole dollar to repair. Little did he know.
I was thinking I should have asked the guy how much it was before he started. I was thinking he’s going to charge me a huge fee, as I was a white guy in a Cambodian town. Wondering if he would over charge me something in the likes of $10, should I bargain or should I be gracious and pay what he demanded. Caveat empotor.
After the inspection of the tube in the water, we discovered it had no leaks. The tyre was just flat. He re-assembling the tyre, filled both with air. I then asked him how much I had to pay. He replied in Khmer, and I was sure he said $10. At that point I pulled out 1000 real (25 cents) and he handed me back a 500 real note. How was that! My leisurely ride cost me 12 cents.