Adventures in Asia 2008

my travels through India, Nepal, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan.

Traffic Chaos

Posted by maudholma on 27 April 2008

“We will pick up a few more people and then go”, S and I were told when we got into a taxi from Sihanoukville to Kampot. At this point there were four of us in the car. After few more minutes and a few more people, four of us sat in the back with the remaining four (including the driver) in the front. How someone manages to switch gears when he is wedged between a man sitting on the gearstick and a woman whose feet are competing for room with his remains a mystery to me. Maybe it’s best that way.

“We will wait for four more people and then go”, we were told when we got into a taxi for the Vietnamese border a few days later. That would have been one less than the previous time. We lucked out, and instead of waiting until the car was full managed to find another taxi with one passenger that was getting ready to leave. This time there were only two people in the front (including the driver) and four of us in the back (including two backpacks), until we stopped to pick up two more people, who squeezed into the front and seemed to think nothing of it. S and I couldn’t wait to get to Vietnam, where driving was sure to be safer and taxis not as full.

“We have no taxi here – only moto”, S and I were told after we had crossed the border and started to kindly decline motorcycle drivers’ requests to drive us the 10 km to Ha Tien, the nearest town. After all, who would put a 15 kg backpack in front of a moto driver, strap on a helmet, and hop on the back? The answer: two people with no other means of transportation. We watched a garbage truck, an egg van, and a minibus full of businessmen pass us before realizing that we were not likely to experience safe driving or empty taxis in Vietnam. After a few days of taking motos I can confirm that this still holds true. I never thought I would miss a Toyota Camry that seats eight.

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