Buses, trucks, vans, cars, motorbikes and the odd tuk tuk fill up the roads of Cambodia. There is a center line painted neatly on most roads but very little regard for its use. It seems to be more there to mark the middle of the road than to separate traffic. Steaming down the road at a respectable 35km/h it only took us 6.5 hours (including breaks) to do the 170km from Battambang to Siem Reap. After careering through a red light at full speed (it’s the first one we had seen in months) we arrived in Siem Reap on the road meant for cars and apparently not tuk tuks. We were pulled over straight away and wary of what was in stall. A 5000 Riel fine ($1.25) was dished out and an explanation, “tuk tuk here no, tuk tuk there yes” and we were on our way.
Realising that with all the tourists in town this was perhaps our only chance to raise some much needed funds on this whole trip we immediately got down to business and set the tuk tuk up at the front of our hotel. We were up and running for approximately 2 minutes before the afternoon torrential rains hit, flooding the roads and driving away potential customers. A little dismayed we packed up and headed down to pub street with a tin in hand and some flyers. Approaching a nice looking couple at a table I got down to business and gave my spiel. They immediately reached for their pockets and contributed our first real donation. Unfortunately at the same time the tourist police turned up and threatened to throw us out. Day one of donation collecting over. We were nonetheless, still excited to receive our first donation from a stranger. Mariana Rego, you and Riley Harrison are legends…
Tuk tuk sir….. Hello tuk tuk mister. ..Massage… Hello massage…. Welcome to Siem Reap. The constant harassment every 30 seconds of someone trying to sell their service can be annoying for tourists so why did we think that our amazing cause would get tourists flocking to us with $20 dollar bills. Why? Because we are a fantastic and innovative concept purely created to bring fun and joy to kids, of course. What we didn’t realise is that after being harassed by tuk tuk drivers, masseurs and hawkers of all wears, people really just wanted to be left alone to look over their photos of the day and enjoy a quiet drink to beat the heat.
We tried all the famous temples and set up in a busy section in town, all to no avail. Deciding that we would prefer to donate ourselves and stop this constant rejection, we packed up and set off to a local village only 5 minutes drive from our hotel to show some locals tuk tuk theatre. The kids were excited. We found out that this is the first time that they have ever seen a movie with stereo sound blasting on a big screen and a western movie as well. Yep Lion King was a winner again. We can only thank Mariana and her partner from Australia for their generous donation. It was with their support and the kids in Siem Reap that made this part of the trip really rewarding.
If you would like to contribute to tuk tuk theatre and help keep us on the road please go to our contributions page here. All donations big and small are appreciated however even if you don’t wish to make a monetary donation you can help simply by sharing our story to your friends and family.
Why not make a difference in some of Cambodia’s poorest villages. Good karma for you, great excitement for the kids.
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