Saturday, April 17, 2010

Cambodia's Fake Mercedes

This letter about a trip in Cambodia was published in Malaysian newspaper The Star and won the writer a hotel stay.

One of my expat friends in Phnom Penh, a Brit, had a fake Mercedes van. She told me the insignia was stuck on a Japanese or Korean make. Maybe that was what happened to the letter writer!

The winning letter:
Scary car ride

My friends and I went to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap for a holiday not long ago. Upon checking in, we decided to book a ground package offered by the hotel. Transport would be provided from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap.

At the appointed time, we became apprehensive when we saw an old Mercedes Benz with a “For Sale” sign pasted on the windscreen roll up.

Two hours into the trip, the car started shaking. This was not a good sign. An hour later, it was the steering wheel’s turn to shake — violently.

We told the driver to stop the car and check what was wrong. And what did we find? One of the wheels was loose! Most of the bolts and nuts had dropped off!

Our driver recovered odds and ends along the road but none of these fallen parts could be used any more. Imagine our horror. If we had gone on for another hour, the wheel would have rolled off!

What would have happened had we not asked the driver to stop?

We had an anxious ride the rest of the way with said wheel held in place by only three nuts borrowed from the other three wheels.

Imagine the relief we felt when we finally arrived at Siem Reap! The horrifying car ride aside, the trip was actually pleasant and enjoyable.

Diana Kho, Kajang

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