And I finally took one – a close up picture, that is – of a trishaw with Mervyn, our frequently used driver.
See, Fahim and I walked to Fahim’s work today to play on the internet, and when we were done, we came outside, Fahim handed over the keys to the guard as usual, and Mervyn was there. He offered to take us back because he was headed in that direction. Fahim tried to pay, but Mervyn refused.
Reality is that Mervyn gets a lot of business from us, and he’ll continue getting a lot of business from us, so for him to throw in a trip like that occasionally just makes good business sense. It’s also a really really really short trip, so not much of a big deal.
At the end of the ride, I asked Fahim if he’d ask Mervyn if I could take a picture of the trishaw. Mervyn, it would seem, misinterpreted, and thought I wanted to take a pic of him. Well, okay. Anything to amuse you. But really, it’s for the trishaw – a close up so you can see exactly what I’m talking about.
You can see that the front wheel allows for easy maneuvering in tight spots – and it does like nobody’s business. A lot of the trishaws have either vinyl seats or plastic covering over the seat – I imagine it’s for easy cleaning. When you consider how much dust there is in the air, it makes a lot of sense. Just behind the seat, there’s a bit of space for storage – ie, shopping bags and the like, but it’s only about 8 or 10 inches deep. Beneath that is the engine.
Most of the trishaw engines in Sri Lanka are 2 stroke engines, and while I don’t pretend to know alot about engines and the like, I do know enough to know that it requires the oil to be mixed with the petrol.
Four stroke engine trishaws are available, but they’re more expensive.The trishaws are shipped over from India, and from what I read, there’s less of a difference in price between the two different engines in India than when they’re imported here, which is really unfortunate, because the 4 stroke engines are much less harmful to the environment. Less emissions.
Let’s face it – Sri Lankans don’t care about emissions now – it all gets blown out to sea eventually anyway – but they should. Pollution here is a real problem.
The trishaw is basically a tin can on wheels with a motorcycle engine and a couple of seats. That’s it. Not a single thing fancy about it.
Oh, and do you notice just above the passenger entrance – I can hardly call it a door – there’s a round elongated black thing with a strap hanging down? That’s the rain shield. Unsnap, roll down, snap it into place, and the rain doesn’t come in. Makes much more sense here than actual doors that shut – you’d be too hot that way!
Oh, yeah, and beneath Mervyn’s seat – do you see a little white box with a rep lid? That’s the battery.
And for the record, it seems that most trishaw drivers don’t wear even flip flops when the vehicle is in motion. I’ve mostly seen them just bare foot it. Most of the controls – the few of them that exist – are hand controls.
Anything else ya need to know about trishaws but were too scared to ask? Ask away.