Sunday, September 18, 2011
Tuk-tuks and motodups (motorcycle taxis) rank amongst the most annoying of annoyances for foreigners in Cambodia, badgering tourists and expats with their sales pitch virtually non-stop. If you are in a tourist area such as the riverfront in Phnom Penh, the beach area in Sihanoukville or anywhere in Siem Reap, you can scarcely walk 5 feet without one after another calling to you, following you, blocking your way, spinning their pitch no matter how many times you say ‘no.’ Their harassment has tainted many a Cambodian holiday, all of which makes the guy pictured above pretty special. I spotted him a few weeks back as I walked up the Phnom Penh riverfront. He didn’t say a word as I passed, just smiled and nodded, his sign telling the story. “WELCOME: I do not want to disturb you…” it reads, going on to offer his tuk-tuk services. ‘My God,’ I thought - courtesy and information rather than harassment and hucksterism – what a completely unique and thoroughly welcome approach from a Cambodian tuk-tuk. I stopped to express my approval for his idea, even though I didn’t need a tuk-tuk right at that moment. He told me he is trying to be “polite,” hoping that foreigners would appreciate the difference. I know I do. And I want to support this guy in his effort. Since then, when I need a tuk-tuk, if I can find him, I use him. In fact I will go out of my way to give him my business, walking up the riverfront to search him out. I urge others to do the same. Good business practices such as this should be rewarded and encouraged.
He seems to hang out at the corner of Sisowath Quay and Street 148 on the Phnom Penh riverfront, just next to Metro and Riverside Bistro. He’s easy to spot. There’s the sign on the side, and he’s the only one in the group who’s not charging at you yelling “tuk-tuk!...tuk-tuk!…tuk-tuk!..."
UPDATE, Sept 24, 2011: I ran across Mr. Sally today (at his usual place in front of Metro) and asked if he would mind if I published his phone number in this post. He enthusiastically endorsed the idea. So here it is: 092-319232 (+855-92-319232.) He told me that his working hours are from 7AM-10PM (Cambodia time.) Please do not call him outside of his working hours.