Saturday, November 5, 2016

Cars in Cambodia

One thing Cambodian roads are not built for is cars. The tiny lanes between houses make it very difficult for more than one car to go through at a time. Small Toyota Camrys are huge in comparison to the space allotted and the ever-favored status symbol in third world countries, the Lexus ATVs are gigantic. Being able to afford a car in Cambodia also seems to give the owner a sizeable sense of entitlement as well on the road. Everyone must be patient in Cambodian traffic, but if someone is going to be honking, it's usually a driver behind shiny Lexus armor. Any driver in a Tuk Tuk or on a motorcycle has been forced to the edge of the road by a horn-blaring car or truck. 

[sarcasm warning] Can you blame the car drivers, though? They aren't able to enjoy driving their pollution-free, air conditioned car with any sense of accomplishment. Every turn is swarmed by the faster and less bulky motorcycles, deep pot holes the huge cars can't avoid and a myriad of wrong-way-traffic and cart-pushers. I can imagine being frustrated by owning a vehicle capable of so much that never makes it over 50 miles an hour on a good day. Perhaps that rage is what built up until a former teacher riding a motorcycle was purposely mowed down by one. He lost his leg, but the poor car owner is stuck in the same frustrating situation with perhaps some guilt on top. Usually, in cases where a car causes an accident, they pay the person who was hurt enough for a hospital bill, (health insurance doesn't exist for normal people here.) My friend's brother who drives a Tuk Tuk was rammed by a car and as a result, had his thumb amputated. The car-driver gave him $50 and disappeared.

In a country where the infrastructure can not support large vehicles, the insistence of citizens in getting them anyways may slowly change what road structure is available. In the meantime, everyone has to wait in the bulk of traffic created by them. (Unless you have a motorcycle, then you can usually get around anywhere while the cars are left behind to duke it out.)

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