Phnom Penh street names sound strange to these ears

Except for the boulevards, few drivers

recognize street names anyway

rue 6Long-time residents who can navigate Phnom Penh’s miserable traffic with assurance often fail to remember the names of the streets that they travel.  (Farther down, more about names that bring me up short, and there is a pretty big hint above.)

By “long-time residents,” I include bicyclists and pedestrians as well as most of the numerous tuk-tuk operators and motodops who clog corners in search of passengers and then cruise our thoroughfares when they get lucky.

I frequently come upon tourists and transporters with heads together puzzling over laminated maps that seem to offer little help.  An address Continue reading

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Traffic chaos is not in the eye of this beholder

One busy intersection without lights or signs during the evening rush period.

One busy intersection without lights or signs during the evening rush period.

Chaotic doesn’t begin to describe the traffic in much of the developing world.

One of my earliest memories of it takes place in Mumbai, which I visited in the late 80s.  I was thoroughly intimidated by the convergence of cows, bicycles, motorcycles, cars and pedestrians on the thoroughfares and side streets.  Crossing them seemed undoubtedly was perilous to the extreme.

I since have witnessed similar congestion and danger, usually without the cows, in Asia and Africa.

Here in Phnom Penh, what looks like chaos actually turns out to be more like a mutable form of brinksmanship.  Or chicken.  Continue reading