“YOU SEE SO MUCH MORE OF THE COUNTRY TRAVELLING IN A TUK-TUK.”
Here is a small snippet of our conversation. Hit play below to listen to the whole chat.
Julian: What were your first memories of jumping on the tuk-tuk?
Maxine: It was like sensory overload because it’s so busy in the city. And there’s so much going on. So many people. So many tuk-tuks. It takes a little bit of getting used to and then it’s quite good fun. It becomes really good fun, actually really good fun.
Andrea: I think our first day when we broke down introduced us to the Sri Lankan people really well because it broke down in the middle of a busy town. And within about 10 seconds, there were eight or nine people around us trying to help us. A middle-aged guy came along and said, I’ll get my son, he’ll drive to the garage. So we’re having a total stranger jump into our vehicle. But the young lad was absolutely fantastic.
Everybody wants to know what we’re doing and why we’re there. Because of course, women don’t drive tuk-tuks generally. Three middle-aged white women in the middle of Sri Lanka, we just got so much attention, but it was actually really fun attention. And everybody just wants to help and to know what you’re doing.
“IT TAKES A LITTLE BIT OF GETTING USED TO AND THEN […] IT BECOMES REALLY GOOD FUN.”
Julian: Yeah, it’s one of the best parts of the trip, in my opinion, that access to meeting the local people. What were the highlight moments or things that stood out?
Maxine: For me, the one story that I tell is running the gauntlet with the elephants. We were told that one of the tuk-tuks had overturned going through the National Park by an elephant.
Carol: We sat Maxine in the front with all the food so if there was ever an incident with an elephant it would be not me.
Maxine: So we were following the van you guys were in, and when we came across the first elephant you threw some bananas out and he moved out of the way. So we’ve got passed the first one. And then when we came to the next elephant, he had this big bush in his trunk, he was swishing it across the road and I’m thinking, oh my god, he’s massive. He’s so huge. But this time, he didn’t move out of the way. Eventually, another van came from the opposite direction. And the elephant kind of moved out of the way. It was so funny. We were really nervous. But looking back, it was the funniest thing ever. And that elephant was the biggest animal in my whole life.
Carol: To be honest, every single day, there was something that made us laugh. And actually, we’ve met some really nice people that were in the other tuk-tuks along the way and the people that we’ve remained friends with the last three, four years.
“EVERY SINGLE DAY THERE WAS SOMETHING THAT MADE US LAUGH.”
Andrea: My favourite moment was when we had to go and cook in this house. We started chatting and eventually, he said, follow my friend he’ll take you to my house. So we were going to follow this total stranger down these backroads we don’t know where we were going. And we get to his house and a lovely woman Shireen who we spent about two and a half hours with. Her teaching us to cook in her kitchen on our little two gas rings and we had an absolutely fabulous time. And it was so humbling to actually be invited into somebody’s home to do that. And then think afterward that if somebody came knocking on your door over here you’d say are you mad go away, you’re not coming into my home.
I think from thinking, are we actually going to make it through this trip without chucking the keys back at you and saying we’re heading to the hotel, to go from that level to thinking we actually have won it.
Julian: Jumping to India. What was it like?
Andrea: One day, we spent some time helping a guy plaster a wall that he was repairing. And that was part of what the challenge is to actually get involved in helping a look into local people. And one occasion when we were having to the hotel and go that road and there was a digger there pulling the big boulders down from the rock slide. And we had to time getting past while the boulders were falling. I mean, that was very unnerving. But India was just as good as Sri Lanka.
Carol: I really enjoyed India. And the thing is that people don’t realise, you see so much more of the country travelling in a tuk-tuk. You just see so many things and see how beautiful these countries are that I can’t believe that more people don’t actually do it.
Listen to the full episode here.