17 December 2008


we've found phnom penh to be a city that is simply bursting with movement.

you get the sense that people here have a lot of lost time to make up for & are making up that time with a vengeance.

at first, the traffic here seemed, to us, unfathomable (although, to be fair, we do hear it is worse in vietnam). most cambodians travel by small motor bikes, or motos as they are called here. as far as the traffic goes, it is the law of the jungle out here!

in this city of two million, there are very few stop signs (in fact, the one pictured above is the only one we've stumbled across so far). there are also no more than a smattering of traffic lights, which are a new concept here, so are frequently ignored. rarely does anybody ever come to a complete stop. any traffic rules that we might be used to, such as driving on the right side of the street, using a turn signal, or turning your headlights on, seem to be treated as suggestions at best.

to assist daniel in his attempts to master the moto, we've been riding around the city on moto taxis, called moto doops, to get a feel for the unspoken understanding of traffic rules. (we wear helmets, mom!)

in addition to carrying passangers, we've seen all kinds of previously unimaginable things balanced on the back of these motos. these include: a family of six people on 1 moto; a breastfeeding mother; a passenger holding up another passenger's IV bag; a bundle of 30ft steel construction rods; a flat of several dozen live chickens; what appeared to have been a good half tonne of bananas; and finally; an old soviet helicopter (you can guess which one we made up).


Mark said...

I have had not particular desire to travel in a while, but images like this put a smile on my face and kind of make me wish I was in "Nottawa" where things like this might happen.

Chris and Christina said...

hmm, i would guess the helicopter, but that seems so improbable how would you think of making it up? so it must be true, and you made up one of the more probable sightings: the IV bag?

Havilah said...

I think I would have to go with the 30 ft poles, just in trying to imagine them, but then, I sort of can, hmm, yeah, I will stick with those.

Mark said...

Good thing they call them "motos" and not "scooters" (those SOBs) if you know what I mean.

Lorrie said...

I am happy to see that you are enjoying this new adventure in your lives so much. It looks like a beautiful place.
I am missing your "shoulder" Amanda. Fortunately you are missing the cold north, it's more than -30 today.
All the best to you both in the new year.

Lowell said...

I guess the porch. No one can possibly have a porch that nice.