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Posts Tagged ‘traffic’

Bicycle-related silliness in Siem Reap

February 2, 2005 Leave a comment

Right… well, I’ve discovered the secret of navigating traffic in Cambodia. Basically you have to totally empty your mind of any concept of rules, regulations or common sense. It’s every sentient being for him or herself out there, so just get used to it.

Jen and I cycled $DEITY knows how many kilometers around many of the ruins near Siem Reap. Revisited many of the places we saw yesterday, this time with a fully-charged camera. On the cover of the Lonely Planet Cambodia is a picture of an old fellah in one of the temples (Ta Phrom). We have a photo of him. Now all we need to do is find out his name…

We discovered the Vietnamese equivalent of Starbucks (Trung Nguyen) has a branch in Siem Reap, so I revisited my ‘Nam glory days :) by having a ca phe sua drip percolated coffee (aka Best Coffee In The Entire Universe (Franc, take note)).

Just prior to our cycling adventure I went actoss the road to get some water. After paying the not very princely sum of 1000 riel (33 Aussie cents) for 3 litres, I was approached by a landmine victim asking for a donation. I gave, a small amount, but he smiled widely and appreciated the gesture. I think it’s the first donation I’ve given to a beggar on my whole trip. It still tears at me, my moral compass askew, facing choices that I’m just not equipped to make. Who do I give to? All? None? Some? If some, who “deserves”it? This is a country with millions of people truly in need, and no social welfare system whatsoever. What’s all that about?

Cambodia certainly is a country of contradictions; the utter hell visited on it’s people by the Khmer Rouge, and yet they’re still ready with a smile and a hello. The kids are adoreable. And I’m starting to feel quite safe here, despite it’s proliferation of weapons and the utterly insane traffic. I’ve seen driving schools here and in Sihanoukville, I can’t imagine what a safe driving lesson consists of. Suffice to say that I suspect my bagging of Sydney drivers will now operate on a much reduced level.

I guess we’ll be seeing Angkor Wat tomorrow, as well as a better look around Angkor Thom and some other cool-looking Buddhist temples scattered about.

The crocs next door are okay too. :) Well-fed and so far unable to scale walls and open windows. Which is a good thing. I’ve never seen a crocodile walk before, by jeez they’re scary looking bastards on dry land! :)

Righto, must go. Take care. Etc.

Cheers,
Karsoe/Paul C.

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Greetings from Bangkok

November 14, 2004 Leave a comment

Well, I survived the trip. I’m just surviving Bangkok too. Anyone who reckons Sydney is intense should pop over here for a while, it redefines the term.

It’s alledgedly almost winter here too, but you wouldn’t know it. The humidity definitely prompts bulk consumption of beer (which, to the surprise of many of you, I’ve not yet done).

I haven’t really done a lot yet, the trip knackered me (I was awake for 27 hours), so I’ve just been strolling about and trying to get oriented and resting. Well, trying to. It seems that I landed in the middle of a large and surprisingly boisterous Buddhist festival, which basically involves lots of very loud music, lion dancing and fireworks until about 2am.

I have to find somewhere else to crash today, and will have a look at some of the temples later this arvo.

Two things about Bangkok:
1. They don’t seem to have traffic rules here, more like traffic suggestions.
2. I’m yet to figure out what purpose the pedestrian crossings serve.

I also saw something very scary last night, a tattooist who operates out of a Kombi van. I’d like to get some more ink done but I think I’ll wait until I get back home.

Better go. Hope everyone is well.

Take care,

Paul C./Karsoe