Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Tuk tuk sir?
Before I go on about temples, food and other Cambodian wonders, I must start with the mentalness that characterises places like Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. "Mentalness" here refers to the total chaos, particularly in Phnom Penh, that you find yourself in as soon as you come out of a shop/ hotel/ restaurant... you get the idea. So much traffic, so many people, so many tuk tuks (motobike with a somewhat precarious carriage attached to the back of it which serves as taxis in most places around the country).After a few days, you learn to stop being so polite to everyone (no thank you, I don't want a tuk tuk now, no thank you, I won't be needing a tuk tuk tomorrow) and learn to shrug off any persistent drivers.
Tuk tuks in itself do not explain the total madness on the streets of main cities. Motorbikes are everywhere, and are similarly used as taxis by visitors. I can't say I accepted an offer which included me and my massive suitcase to fit on one of those motos, but we did make daily use of tuk tuks. It was great fun too, because it meant travelling around towns and surrounding countryside at a leasurely pace, albeit with some shaking around and bumping up and down, but with the added benefit of natural ventilation. And I'm the living proof that there is somewhat some order to the road chaos, and that you can indeed cross and survive. I know, added bonus really. Although to be honest, it may feel like you're about to be run over at every corner, but just carry on walking, and traffic will somehow move around you. You might be sweating a little more by the end of it, and have a few palpitations, but it can be done, just go for it.