On my first day of placement, my boyfriend’s parents kindly organised a tuk-tuk driver for me. After “auditioning” several drivers (making them all compete for the best price), they finally settled on Bory. For $6/day Bory would pick me up at 7.30am, take me to the hospital, and then pick me up again at lunchtime. If needed he’d take me back in the afternoon, or I could have him take me to the market. For an extra charge we could go further to the main tourist attractions.
For the entire 6 weeks, Bory was never late, and he never stopped smiling.
He wouldn’t let me pay him at the end of the first week, preferring to wait and get the month’s worth as a lump sum. I imagine he dreamed all month about the things he could buy for $120 in Phnom Penh.
He frequently got lost, but he always quite happily stopped for directions and never charged extra for the scenic route. In his broken English he would explain how he got confused, and then laugh about it.
I’m not convinced Bory is a real tuk-tuk driver. When he wasn’t driving me around, he’d hang out with our security guard and his tuk-tuk driver friends. Other tuk-tuk drivers would yell out “tuk-TUK!!” to anybody who walks past, hoping for business. When people walked past Bory, he did nothing. My boyfriend’s parents actually had to call him over to discuss business that first day.
Maybe he’s a secret millionaire.