Thursday, 6 May 2010

motorbike maintenance

Now before I moved to Cambodia I'd never actually ridden a motorbike.
Infact the only time I can remember being on the back of a motorbike is when I got a lift down London Road on the back of my friend Shailesh's 250. Scared the shit out of me to be fair.

Now since getting here that's all changed. In the last few months I'm generally on the back of at least 7 motorbikes every 24 hours.

Well anyway I went and got myself a motorbike.
Honda Chaly CF70.
Looks like this.

That's not actually my one I've lost the lead that connects camera to computer. So my photo's are pretty much trapped for now.

Well anyway I paid Booun Roy Dollaar, ($400) for the Bike,
but since then in the last 2 weeks I'va also paid:
$25 on a new back tire and inner-tube.
$14 on an oil change
$2 on a basket
and $20 for a part that nobody I've shown it to could identify.
see the $20 part came at a time of real desperation.

It must have been half 9 on a Sunday night. My phone was at home charging and I only had $21 to last me till I next got paid again later in the week.
As I'm pulling out on to Monivong (one of the main roads that crosses the city from East to West) my bike lost all power.

Literally just died in the road.

It seamed no amount of aggressive kick-starting was going to bring it back to life so I pulled up along side the men who live on the street corner and fix bikes for a living.
Now one of these guys spent about 45 minutes taking my bike to pieces and reassembling it in various ways. None of witch lead to its resurrection.
After an amount of time on of the older guys walked over and pointed into the heart of the machine.
The other guy nodded and beckoned me to come closer.
"m,Umm Paye Dollaar"
He said pointing at the bikes engine.
Over the next 5 minutes we communicated though excited mime as he explained that I'd have to give him the money so as he could go get the new part.
Reluctantly I agreed and handed over what was essentially all my money.
The mime continued.
Now I've played my fair share of charades in my time and understood straight away what he wanted.
But I played dumb for a few moments just to acknowledge the reality of what I was about to do in my own mind.
See he needed to take the bike away and bring it back fixed.
So that's what happened.
I think it must have been only about a minute after he'd pulled off that I started to feel uneasy about giving all my money, my motorbike and also my house keys to a stranger who could not understand me any better than I understood him.
I mean isn't that how westerners end up married to villagers?
and how did I know that this guy even worked/lived on this corner.

Thankfully the older guy who'd diagnosed my bike invited me to sit with him, gesturing up the road and saying the Cambodian word I recognise as meaning Baby.

After 44 minutes I was pacing with worry.
After 45 minutes the man returned. Bike fixed.
I was relieved and told myself that I should try and trust people more.

Bike's been cool since.

No comments: