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Dalama Adventures Tale of two corporate types ditching their jobs and traveling the world for 14 months... check out all photos, blogs & interesting tid bits at http://www.dalama.net

Pimp Daddy and His Tuk-Tuk Drivers

CAMBODIA | Tuesday, 26 June 2007 | Views [1241]

Our driver was the guy who picked us up at the bus station.  We had agreed upon a price, and time (9:00 a.m.) for the next day.  His friend who also speaks English well was set up to take our Israeli travel friends together with us.  They had instructed us that to take 4 tourists in one tuk-tuk was illegal, and they'd get fined by the police.  So we agreed to go with two tuk-tuk's and two drivers.  That morning our driver "Ya" shows up at our guest house with his younger brother and informs us that his younger brother will be taking us around today, and that he needs to take his pregnant wife to the hospital.  We object to having the brother take us (who coincidentally doesn't speak a lick of English), and kindly let him know that if he has another obligation, we'll go with another English speaking guide that I had been given a business card from the night before.  After much debate, he finally says he needs the money and will take us, and sends his brother away.  We arrive to meet our Israeli friends, only to find them, as well, objecting with their driver - seems he's also tried the "bait and switch" tactic and has subcontracted the days work to his "younger brother" who speaks no English. He said he had another job - which from the fact that he's now lying in a hammock ready to take a snooze, suggests he's also tried to get out of delivering the service he's promised.  The Israelis, after tireless communications with the head driver, and trying to get him to make good on the service he's promised to them, finally relent, and take the younger brother, at least knowing that Ya, our driver, speaks English and they can listen in.  This little trick not only happened to us, but we started observing others in the act, and frustrated tourists arguing with their tuk-tuk drivers.

The way we see it, the tuk-tuk drivers deploy a strategy that allows them to sell the most business or "rides."  The lead guy (who we call Pimp Daddy) speaks English well, and works the street to lure in falang who want a driver that can speak English, and with whom they can communicate with during their day's tour.  Pimp Daddy tries to differentiate himself to win your business by playing up his "guide" knowledge qualities.  Pimp Daddy may reel in a couple of live clients in one day, and has a slew of "brothers" who can drive, but they speak no English.  Pimp Daddy assigns them out to his live customers, making up some sad excuse as to why he can't personally deliver the service.  Then, while Pimp Daddy's tuk-tuk drivers are out driving away each day, and bringing in the cash, Pimp Daddy is back out on the street, using his good English skills to win more business.  It's a good model when it works like it's supposed to.  However, I think our Pimp Daddy, Ya, probably ended up "losing face" in front of all the other Pimp Daddy's who were all lounging in their hammocks - when he had to actually physically drive us around for two days.  End of the day, we got good service from Ya, and we think he actually enjoyed the two days we all spent together.

Tags: planes trains & automobiles

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