Friday, February 29, 2008

Cambodia - Crossing the Street

So what happens when you take 4 kids from the city on a world tour? They really learn how to cross the street. Back in Europe we tended to cross a bit en masse and held the kid's (at least the younger ones) hands. The other morning in Phnom Penh was a whole different story. Out the hotel door and 2 blocks to the market. Piece of cake right?

The first key is figuring out which way to look. After 6 weeks in countries where they drove the opposite to us had us kind of trained to look right - but not really as the traffic could be coming from the left if it was just doing a "it's shorter to go the wrong way and easier too" move! So, we look both ways and then try to figure out how to cross the 3 lanes that will take us to the middle of the road where there is a concrete barrier which should mean we'll be safe and can reassess for the next 3 lanes.

The key is to cross when the motos are coming as they can move around you more easily than the cars. So, you spot your opening and warn everyone that it's coming and then cross one lane at a time. If you stand still after each lane or don't make any too sudden moves then it's pretty easy. No holding hands here as you really have to assess for yourself.

So, all 6 lanes successfully crossed, we move onto the sidewalk on the other side. This actually isn't possible though, as that is where they park their cars and motos. You walk a bit on the road and wait for the honk that tells you to squeeze over a bit. Next, we came to an intersection that had 3 roads joining together, but they were all at least coming from our left. We could see the market (and smell it) across the street, so we felt almost home free! We used tourist trick number 2 - cross at the same time as some locals and put them in between you and the traffic so you can watch them react and buy yourself a split second extra time. The traffic was busy at this point so the crossing was quite easy and we plunged into the market, not realizing we were in the stinky food section - but Cathy covered that part!


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