In Cambodia, as in Vietnam, the preferred mode of transportation is the motorcycle. There are literally swarms of them, and simple daily acts like crossing streets become a near-death experience, particularly for people like me who are busy staring up in the air at the pretty buildings instead of straight in front of them at oncoming traffic. Are you an adrenaline junkie seeking your next high? Look no further. Go to Cambodia or Vietnam and brave a major roundabout. The secret is to walk slowly through the streams of motorcyles (I like to stare each each motorcyclist in the eyes and will them not to hit me), and they will simply move around you. I’ve heard it likened to the parting of running water around a pebble in its path, although that makes it seem much more zen than it actually is.
I became fascinated with the many ways in which people in Cambodia use their motorcycle. In Europe, we are so boring. We have one, maybe two people riding on it, usually wearing helmets. It turns out that you can fit a 5-member family on a scooter! The most common is the tuc-tuc, the Cambodia taxi, which is a shaded cart seating 4, hitched onto a moto. People hold their groceries in one hand and navigate with the other… Sometimes, enormous bundles, baskets, or carts are hitched on to transport what would require a small U-haul in New York City. Here are some of my favourite photos of motorcycle madness in Cambodia: