Well Aki Ra and I went to Phnom Penh yesterday looking for a truck for CSHD, our demining NGO. We’d been told about a couple of Russian troop carriers that had been used to carry the Prime Ministers body guards.
We looked at the first one. It was in several different locations. The engine was on the ground, the body was in the back of the lot, and the cab….well we never did see the cab. We looked at it, then we looked at the man who wanted to sell it to us, then we looked at each other, then we left to go see the 2nd truck.
The second truck. Well when we opened the door the cab was full of cob webs. The engine hadn’t been started in a year, but it WAS all in one piece. I asked the guy to start it and he kinda did a double take. Then they put water in the radiator, added a little bit of diesel, hooked up a battery and it actually started.
He told us it was made in the 80’s. I found the production sticker on the door, but since I don’t read Cyrillic, I’m not sure when it was made.
Barrangs. A barrang is a foreignor. It actually means French. They were the first westerners to get over here, and as they tell me, we all look alike. So everyone is a Frenchman, or barrang.
When Aki Ra first found the truck, or actually heard about it, they told him the price was $14,000. When I showed up, it jumped to $16,000. So while Aki Ra went on looking at trucks, the barrang flew home.
I spoke with him tonite and he thinks we need to keep looking. The seller offered to make the truck as good as new and drive it here. And that’s a 6 hour drive. But none of us are too sure we want to spend that kind of money on something this old.
And our budget is $20k anyway.
So the hunt goes on.