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JOURNAL OF MY TOUR BY JEEP OF THAILAND, CAMBODJA AND VIETNAM

NOVEMBER, 1956 , page 8


In a small village a crowd stopped me and four priests mounted my jeep, together with three small boys who carried their luggage. I felt like a supplementary bus-service, but it was nice to have some company, and it improved the jeep's roadkeeping capacity. Since a rainstorm threatened ahead, I had to drive fast, which almost did us in.
At one of the numerous plank bridges the two main longitudinal boards were too wide apart so that my right wheel ended up to the left of one of the boards and managed to rip apart the series of cross members filling in between the boards…Fortunately, I was going so fast that the jeep kept going, but I had great problems steadying the steering wheel to keep on the bridge. Because there were no side rails, a fall of 10 meters appeared imminent.
The passengers took a firm grip (probably of each other), and the only thing that bounced out were some coconuts. I did feel strangely calm – perhaps because of the blessed company – and it took me an hour to get really angry at the dumb way of bridge construction people employed here.
Happy that there were some more coconuts, we held a small picnic while the rain fell everywhere around us except right where we sat. It sounds like a biblical story, because the rains got as close as 5 meters from the monks, but I did not catch a single drop! Assessing the damage to the jeep caused by the bridge crossing, I only found a deep dent in my wheel cover, while the steering also had become harder, to which I slowly got accustomed. We did alert the police and the few cars we encountered, and once more, I found on the way back that the damage had been repaired within ten days and the bridge restored to its previous condition.
My patron saints alighted at the village of Sasardam, which I found to be a typical Dutch name. Half an hour later, and all of its own accord, the jeep starting honking continuously, and I had to cut a wire to stop the battery from draining while converting useful electricity into useless sound. From nowhere, many farmers appeared to respond to my honking, and it proved hard to dissuade them from helping me.


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