Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The future?

India as a guiding light? Well, there is the possibility, though in many ways Cambodia is ahead of the South Asian billion persons nation. But in India they have a 'four-lane toll motorway' according to an article from the NZ Herald. Titled 'Driven to distraction' it seeks to commend India as a five star tourist destination for thrill seekers. Some excerpts:
'So we're roaring along this busy four-lane toll motorway at 90kph when suddenly there's a cart drawn by a tattooed camel heading towards us going the wrong way down the fast lane.'
Well, roaring at ninety?
'But the interest goes well beyond vehicles and animals blithely disregarding which side of the motorway they're on. That's just the start. '
Terrible, on the wrong side of the road!
'Drivers also ignore lane markings - one stretch of motorway bowed to reality by having none - preferring to straddle the centre line so they can swerve from side to side as required.'
Seems logical
'... at roadworks they don't just have a man with a red flag to warn drivers to slow down but also a big guy in a turban armed with a rifle to back him up. Maybe that's an idea our own [NZ] Land Transport Safety Authority could pick up.'
Well, that's an innovation over Cambodian, here they (road workers) just disregard traffic and vice versa unfortunately.
'Part of the reason there are so few accidents is the way drivers use their horns to send carefully calibrated signals about their intentions. A gentle toot means "I'm here". A slightly louder one asks, "Please pull over so I can come through." A forceful blast declares, "Hey, you're not following the rules, pull over now." It seems to work well. Most trucks carry signs on the back saying, "horn please" and "blow horn".'
Does the same apply to Cambodia? Small repeated honking "I'm approaching the crossroad and have no intent of stopping for whatever". A long, loud impatient horn: "I'm driving an expensive and big car. I was personally instrumental (=accepted the bribes) in providing you poor and Camry driving and motorcycling masses with this here stretch of road, so if you want to avoid being arrested after my car gets a couple of scratches and you are handicapped for the rest of your life (and pay for those scratches) you better move over". Sort of.

What's more mind boggling is that anyone would travel to India for this sort of experience when Cambodia is more accessible, speeds are bigger and Cambodia is just starting to cater to 'real' tourists. Cambodia can also provide a couple of temples to look into. The future for Cambodia is bright.
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