That clever poor young man (1)
Jean arrives in the last flight to the Siem Reap International Airport coming from Bangkok. At his 64 he is alone and free to travel everywhere in this planet thanks to his pension and globalization. ‘Cambodia is a place to see’, said that Australian lady in the bar of a Thai bar. He remembers how she described Cambodia, as a wonder that combines colorful views with cute people. Chloe, yes, it was her name, blond 70 years old grand mother of a seven distributed around the world. Jean asked her to come with him to Cambodia and to show such wonders. She laughed. Certainly no way.
The airport was quickly empty of passengers that disappeared on buses, vans, taxis, tuck-tucks and taxi-motorbikes called by Cambodians as moto-dops. Years of travel around the world gave the experience to Jean as a skilful back packer and his age gave him many advantage such as some considerations from many people. Alone in the airport hall, he is approached by several Cambodian tuck-tuck and moto-dops drivers willing to bring you downtown: Hello sir, please come with me. I bring you. I know a hotel.
He saw a young man, probably 16, he could assure. The man could manage to stand in front to him with that lovely wide smile almost begging to be chosen as his driver. Jean accepted. ‘Can you speak English?’ – Yes, sir, I can speak English a little… come with me. The young man took his luggage consisting in a small backpack he manage to take off his strong hands. When the other guys realized the boy could take the client, they abandoned Jean and went back to their vehicles to look for opportunities otherwhere in Siem Reap city at 10 pm.
– Where do you come from? – asked the young man with that robotic voice Jean knew in Thailand.
– I come from Canada… Thanks. I would like to go to a hostel, not too expensive, please.
– Say again?
– I want a hostel, not expensive.
– Hotel? yes, yes, I know… you want to see temples with me? I bring to you to temples: Angkor, Bayon…
– Thanks. First I want to get a hotel. Maybe tomorrow…
– Yes, yes, tomorrow I come to pick you at the hotel.
The motorbike was really small and uncomfortable for a big man like Jean, but it was what he chose from the crowd of drivers at the airport. He brought him to a hotel that was not expectedly cheaper. When he left the hotel ready to walk and look for something cheaper, he met the young man again, waiting for him.
– I know other hotel…
– Oh, thanks man. I can manage.
– Hey sir, I bring you… no problem. Come.
The guy follows him in his small motorbike as soon as Jean walks.
– I just tell you, I can manage, man. Don’t follow me.
– Sir, I am poor, please, I bring you… free, free.
Jean stops and see again that smiling childlike face… after a little hesitation, he jumps at the back of the uncomfortable motorbike.
– You asked me too much for bring me to this hotel and it is actually too expensive for me. Don’t expect more money from me, do you understand.
– Yeah, yeah, I know… hotel… cheap for you… tomorrow I bring you to the hotel.
After some streets going around, the motor-driver brought him to a hotel. Before leaving, Jean felt he could give him some notes more.
– No, no give to me. Tomorrow me bring you Angkor Wat, okay? okay?
– Uh, well, if you are near here probably. I really don’t know.