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Road site assistance seemed an iffy prospect in middle of Cambodia. I mean, you couldn’t really call your car insurance company.
Me: “Hi. My car is broken.”
Operator: “Okay, we will send someone out. Where are you?”
Me: “Um, somewhere in middle of Cambodia.”
Operator: “…[hysterical laughter]… Click.”
The driver looked at us. We looked at him. Simultaneously, we all started laughing. What else could you do? We were in middle of nowhere, radiator was shot and it was 60 miles or so to Phnom Penh.
Looking back, I can tell you that Cambodian taxi drivers are a committed and creative group. We sat on side of road, contemplating fact that we were about to have a much more authentic Cambodian experience then any of us had planned. Mysteriously, our driver had gone off into brush on side of road. After a few minutes, he returned with a dark green leaf and a big smile.
Putting MacGyver to shame, he proceeded to patch crack in radiator using only leaf and tube of superglue. We all moved back as he applied superglue to boiling hot radiator, but nothing went up in flames. After allowing for a suitable amount of time for drying/praying, all we needed was water.
Although admittedly not a car expert, I do know pouring cold water into radiator of an overheating engine is a bad idea. MacGyver, err… our driver, didn’t bat an eye despite our extensive arm waving. With a big smile, water went into radiator as we watched in horror. The only question was what would happen first, leaf patch bursting or engine seizing up?
Well, you can guess how it turned out. Not only did we make it to Phnom Penh, we later learned radiator had two other leaf patches on bottom. The road had been smooth, but my nerves were still shot. At least I had ample ammunition to mock MacGyver fans.
Rick Chapo is with http://www.nomadjournals.com - Preserve the experience with Nomad Travel Journals as well as journals for hiking, rock climbing, fly-fishing, bird watching and more.