Crossing Cambodia

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Chasing Cars in mid May downpours

Before launching into another non-descript overview of Cambodia's traffic related news, an apology from Crossing Cambodia: wearing helmets is out of fashion this week, we're now back to where we were a month ago, a helmet wearing rate of (just?) 20-30%.
  • What does the road to Phnom Penh look like from Saigon?
    'The road is quite smooth and comfortable and there is plenty of interesting scenery to look at'.
    If you consider unendless stretches of rice fields interesting! Anyway the write-up is meant for Viet readers.
    And if not interesting enough, when leaving Saigon one can skip the drab that's Phnom Penh all together on yer way to Angkor: it's a
    'new luxury bus service'
    'is expected to prove especially popular with budget travellers, the company predicted'.
    Contradictory? Luxury travel for budget travellers? EAS, whom are mostly long-term citizens of Phnom Penh give the same story more spin:
    'Budget travelers no longer need to endure the bone shuddering roads from the Vietnam border to Phnom Penh, only to have to change buses for another six hour hike to Siem Reap and the Angkor temple complex'.
    But the first link said the road is smooth! Can the two go together?
  • More Viet-Khmer news:
    'An Giang [Vietnamese border province] Province’s Market Management Department estimated some 40,000 to 60,000 liters of fuel were trafficked out of the province daily'.
    At a profit of roughly 0,4 $US / liter, it's a lucrative trade, for sure. On a an annual basis Vietnam is giving about 7 million $US to Cambodia! But some people get greedy:
    'Sometimes they add tra catfish oil into gasoline to export'.
    No wonder so many moto's blast belching black smoke!
  • Vuthasurf gives a couple of examples of a Phnom Pehn taxi station:
    'Sometimes, the arguments broke out between taxi’s owners and clients because of grabbing belongings and losing property'.
  • The previously mentioned highway 48 to Koh Kong has been opened. Koh Kong will now change from a remote, pleasant and relatively undisturbed corner of Cambodia to an industrial and casino boom town! Let's hope not. However with elections nearing, Cambo's PM will not be deterred by asphalting the country and claiming it a success:
    'Hun Sen had “inaugurated some new national roads and bridges of more than 400 kilometers, during the last two weeks,” the prime minister told a crowd gathered for the opening of 152 kilometers of road and four bridges in Koh Kong province. “This is a marvel in the 21st Century, in what the Cambodia government and the people are cooperating with development partners to make for our Cambodians'.
    This marvel is also the root cause of all the traffic deaths? Well, let's admit that not much is been done to avoid traffic fatalities.
  • A pleasantly sounding caption:
    'Cambodian Airways to be cleaned up'.
    Well, considering there are hardly any planes flying on national route's especially after PMT's plane crash of last year, this spring cleaning will be finished in a jiffy!
    'To maintain order and ensure security and safety, aircraft and other flight equipment which are not registered at the SSCA [State Secretariat for Civil Aviation] will be prohibited from operating anywhere in the kingdom, Mao Has Vannal, secretary of state of civil aviation, said in the announcement'.
    Ah, it's just a case of registering and .....
  • This report on the (non-existent?) birth of Cambodia's flag carrier reveals that Cambodia is dubbed the 'New Thailand'. Besides handing Cambodia with an unbeatable tourist attracting slogan, the writer is clearly very positive:
    'A new national carrier is the first step for Cambodia along the road to tourism success'.
    Crossing Cambodia thought that Cambodia was already a success?
  • EAS also report on a cyclo 'rally':
    '10 foreigners and 20 cyclo drivers, who took one hour shifts on 10 cyclos, cycled the 320 km round trip from Phnom Penh through Prey Veng and Kampong Cham to raise awareness for the Cyclo Centre Phnom Penh and to support “world no tobacco day”, 31st May'.
    Let's hope somebody has not forgotten the World Naked Bike Ride on June 7; so far nobody has shown the initiative, despite it's lofty challenges:
    'In March and June 2008, in cities around the world, people will be riding bikes naked to celebrate cycling and the human body. The ride demonstrates the vulnerability of cyclists on the road and is a protest against car culture'.
    Does Crossing Cambodia see any hands? Or is it a case of 'Unseen Cambodia'?
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