Crossing Cambodia

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Crossing Cambodia, Tuesday 27 May 2008

Not much has passed the last few days, still a recap is called for.
  • What about the helmet count? Apparently Crossing Cambodia will have to wait until the elections have passed for more positive news on that. From Khmer 440 forum:
    'This reminds me I was talking to police who say that in Cambodia the police are actually fearful of motodups and the motodups have no fear of police. In the lead up to elections, the police try to press less on people and not hassle motodups because they dont want to stir up any public disorder'.
  • The same forum comments on the open / not open situation of the bridges on the road to Koh Kong:
    'you do change bus once or twice, depending on the status of the bridges to KK (despite what the papers say, they are still a work in progress recently)'.
  • The Bangkok Post weighs in on the same route, i.e. the road Koh Kong - rest of Cambodia:
    'Tourism between Thailand and Cambodia is expected to flourish now that road transport has been improved. ... Work was completed last month on the route'.
    So is it complete or not?
  • Today's (27 May, 2008) Cambodian Daily reports on a not so complete bridge in the district of Lumphat, Rattanakiri province which collapsed due to 'torrential downpours':
    'the bridge is irreparable'.
  • Also in the same newspaper: Ferry accident plunges 3 passengers into Mekong.
    'The ferry ramp they were standing on collapsed because of a loose screw. ... crew had paid ample attention to ferry maintenance. "It is the first time that our ferry has a problem, but it is small," he [ferry service director] said'.
  • In certain aspects, Cambodia does resemble a fully developed country: Price of gasoline soaring again. Then again what's the newsworthy-ness of this?
    'Price of gasoline in Cambodia has increased again after remaining stable for a short while'.
  • Talking bull:
    'A runaway water buffalo rampaged through Cambodia's capital, injuring 15 people and damaging several cars and motorbikes, police said Saturday. The female buffalo ran through the crowded streets early Friday morning, causing chaos before it was harnessed with ropes, local police chief Vy Sokhon said. "The buffalo looked very surprised and hit people along the streets," he said.'
    What about the people she hit? Were they not surprised?
  • Stan's experience of taking a taxi:
    '... whereas the typical long distance taxi here [Cambodia] will carry seven people in addition to the driver – think of four people scrunched in a back seat meant for three, two in the front bucket seat and one passenger between the driver and the driver’s door. Almost all taxis are fifteen to twenty year old Toyota Camrys'.
    Then driving yourself:
    'On the other hand, driving here [Cambodia] is no picnic; it’s a bit like floating in a sea of motorbikes more than 80% of vehicles here are two-wheelers. While you try to remain placid and calm, there are always hotdogs on two wheels speeding around you; often cutting you off, forcing you to brake to avoid hitting them. Moreover, they come at you from all directions – this is literal: when motorbike drivers want to make a left turn in the face of cross traffic they merely drive in the wrong direction near the curb until they can find an opening to wiggle over to the proper side of the street.

    Think about driving in a place where red lights and virtually all rules are voluntary. Actually, to be fair, it’s getting to be where more than 90% of drivers are obeying traffic lights: this is a significant accomplishment. There are quite a few stop signs scattered around town but I’'ve never seen anyone actually stop for one. Most motorbike drivers go through them without even looking to see if they might be getting into other people’s' way'.
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