Towering loads of cargo, humans atop trucks, ply roads

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Big loadThere apparently are laws against it, but vehicles overloaded with merchandise, produce and even Cambodians themselves ply Phnom Penh’s streets with impunity.

No one bats an eye at the spectacle, and it seems as those who ride or drive tuk-tuks, motorcycles and trucks or wagons of all sizes don’t Continue reading

Police in Phnom Penh are paid like piece-workers


Motorcycles parked, police officers can only hope offenders will stop.  (Source: Khmer Times)

The traffic police officers here receive a salary, albeit a low one consistent with the paltry pay that the vast majority of Cambodians receives, if they are fortunate to have a job.

The police might be forgiven for thinking that the government pays them to work, so work they do when moved to stop slouching on the job in order to attempt an arrest of motorists who break the law.  Although their salary is just part of the job’s rewards, they paradoxically seem to be less than dedicated to pursuing offenders.

The police in Phnom Penh are notorious for Continue reading

Nervous drivers promote much waving of hands

driver 1

Just how helpful is this parking attendant may well be debatable, yet nervous drivers often are too skittish to park by themselves.  (By the way, isn’t “Colorblind” is an odd name for a clothing store?)

Many drivers in Cambodia are just plain bad.

With automobiles only slowly coming into vogue following the defeat of the Khmer Rouge early in 1979 together with widespread poverty, Cambodians came to cars gradually.  It shows.

I once stood for a full five minutes watching in disbelief as Continue reading

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