My little trip with Jacques and Erine.
Last Saturday, a couple of French tourists reserved a ride with me around Siem Reap in a jeep. This weekend seemed so sunny that I had not taken the decision to change my wheels in mud cleats. After a short briefing and a good coffee, we left for the adventure.
I chose one of my most beautiful circuits, following a trail toward the temple of Chau Srei Vibol. This road is actually a dike built during the Khmer Rouge period. It was necessary at that time because of rising waters from the Tonle Sap, which was inundating villages. But it is also built on an old royal road, which, starting in the east, led directly to the temples of Angkor. Halfway there, we veered south to get another small track through remote villages, to explore the production of alcohol palm. We stopped at a producer to understand the process of making alcohol. I served as translator and completed his explanation by my personal knowledge. For the moment, everything was going well, Jacques and Erine were happy, very interested and had many questions for me ...
After our short break we took the road towards Phnom Bok. No luck, the rain slowly began to come. After passing through beautiful scenery and circling the City of Angkor by Angkor Village Krav, the problems started at the East Baray.
Indeed, in this season, the artificial lake, dug under Jayavarman 7 to power the city of Angkor Thom, is dry. My companions asked me if we could get inside for lunch. The landscapes of rice fields were so majestic that I did not refuse. But the rain began to be increasingly nasty.
I rarely saw the rain also violated that day. The meals lift off with the storm. We were sheltered under a plastic sheet and we were all wet. To my surprise, my clients found the situation very amusing and burst out laughing ... But the situation became less funny when we saw my dear Nini, my French 1964 jeep stuck in the sand at the height of its wheels.
I tried everything. With 4WD, 2 wheel drives!!... There was nothing we could do; she is stuck because of the rising waters. Villagers came to help us dig to clear the wheels, pushing, pulling, and lifting ... still nothing we could! During 4 hrs, we tried to get Nini out of the trap. But the more we were doing maneuvers, the more it sank. We were really tired and desperate. And Nini seemed to want to spend the night here. I was walking up the dike and hoping for a few miles to find a solution to bring the tourists home. But I also knew that nobody would be crazy enough to come and help us in this place that had become a swamp.
I still decided to go, leaving my friends waiting. And it was on the way that I met an old man pulling a cart of stones. It was our last chance! Three grown men, a woman driver, 4 wheel drive and above a carpet of stones under the wheels, should be enough to save Nini. I knew the French girls were stubborn, capricious, but Nini was the exception. In two rounds of wheels, she proudly emerged from the sand moving. We went back and stayed a while on the dam to watch the sunset. My visitors did not say anything ...
When we got home, I offered them a meal. I apologize for the mishap. I suggested gratuity for the tour, but they refused and paid me all. They did not look angry or happy either. I was very embarrassed ...
The next evening, after bringing Nini for a check up at the garage, my two French tourists returned to the restaurant. I thought it would be to complain, but instead they said that they had made the most beautiful and best trip of their life with Nini and me.
Jacques, Erine, Thanks you very much!
I have already provided blankets and tents for your next trip !!!.