Crossing Cambodia

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chasing Cars election style

  • Yesterday's Mirror reports on the increase in traffic victims :
    'During the first six months of 2008, the total number of traffic accidents was 3,511 which killed 903 people; it increased 17%, compared to the same period of the first six month of 2007 ...
    “Major Suos Sokha, deputy director of the vehicle registration management office, and of the department for the registration of boats and ships of the Ministry of Interior, reported to Khmer Sthapana on 21 July 2008 the reasons that lead to the increase of traffic accidents in the first six months of 2008: these are driving in violation of traffic laws with 1,560 cases, riding motorcycles without helmets with 778 cases, not obeying priority traffic rights with 502 cases, driving while being drunk with 439 cases, speed racing with each other with 349 cases, and 261 cases of careless driving etc…'.
    This all seems a bit confusing, surely driving drunk also is in violation of the law, as is riding motorcycle without helmet. What would etc. entail?
  • How does law enforcement work? In Lao:
    'Traffic police will crackdown on illegal and unregistered vehicles on Monday, fining motorists who do not comply with regulations. ... More than 700 officials will start to check out those illegal vehicles along various streets and main roads in Vientiane this Monday. ... The police will also inspect vehicles at government offices, organisations, factories, schools, restaurants and entertainment venues'.
    This was all to be read in the Vientiane Times of July 17, 2008. Possibly our Cambo friends can take an example from their northern neighbours? Ah drats, it's election time!
  • Meanwhile, Vietnam has raised the price of petrol by 31%.Why?
    '"If prices had not been raised, fuel trading firms would suffer losses of between 67 trillion dong (3.98 billion dollars) and 72 trillion dong (4.28 billion dollars) [this year]," Minister of Finance Vu Van Ninh was quoted as saying'.
    Compelling reason?
    Important for Cambodia is that the price difference with Cambodia will drop but still be nearly 0,20-0,25 US$ /liter.
  • Wet season? Siem Reap - Thai border?
    'The road was still Mad-Maxian but they are working on it. A lot of grading and a lot of sewer pipe or drainage installation. ... The potholes however, were minimal until Poipet, which can only be described as the arsehole of Cambodia. Potholes 10-15 feet wide, filled with water and debris; bikes, trucks, cars, carts and stray dogs all trying to negotiate this maze. Its really beyond belief what a dunghole this international border town is! The last 400 yards took us 20 minutes!'
    Why not walk?
    The above was just from one report on the road Siem Reap - Thai border from the Tales of Asia overland site.
    More? A June entry:
    'Sure there are some unmade bits, little detours where they are building new bridges etc but it’s a breeze. The worst bit was in Poipet itself – what a dump!'
    Is there a ballot going on somewhere where we can vote on the best hell on earth?
    'Crossing Cambodia, may I have your votes: Poipet ten points, Poipet dix points!'
  • The latest version of Asialife [note site hasn't been updated for quite sometime: you'll have to get a copy yourself!] has quite a few articles on traffic related issues in Cambodia.
    'Off road tours are bringing Cambodia's remote treasures within reach. ... Landmines, previously a major peril, are largely cleared, but travel down cambodia's cratered provincial roads remains arduous. Preah Vihear, for example, is gruelling five-day road trip from Phnom Penh. ...
    "there are many dangers on Cambodian roads - heat, dust poor visibility, and bad weather can make driving difficult," says Reiny [of Red Raid]. " But traffic is by far the most dangerous". ... "Phnom Penh is pretty nuts for the newly arrived ...." ... despite the hazards, Reiny claims that Cambodia's roads are comparatively safe
    "Driving in Cambodia is no more dangerous than any other country in Asia," he says" Driving in Europe has its dangers too." '
    So does eating an ice-cream.
  • More in Asialife this time hiking up Bokor.
    'The hike takes between six - eight hours each way, so you must stay overnight. ... Arriving in the late afternoon means you have the complex free from daytrippers'.
    And 'Cruising the Tonle Sap'. Both the luxurious CFM and Jungle Journeys ('a former Mekong ferry!') cruising companies are highlighted.
  • And finally another long article on the train to Battambang. The concept of 'slow transport'!
    "Why else would you subject yourself to the rain (holes inthe roof], wind, upright wooden benches and glacial pace for a minimum of 14 hours?"
    It's just 247 km! Despite all the great writing skills. it ends with:
    'The trip is only for the serious traveller'.
    Which means what? Clear off you hordes?

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