Tuesday, October 13, 2009


This weekend I finally bought myself a motorbike! Here it is, my pride and joy---a Daelim Citi 100, a green hornet of uncertain vintage, with four gears, an unreliable electric starter, and an instrument panel that long ago stopped indicating speed, gear, or fuel quantity, purchased for the grand sum of $340 from the only obese Cambodian woman I have ever seen:

And here, for those who haven't experienced the joys of Phnom Penh's traffic, is a video I shot the other day by taping my camera to my handlebars, much to the amusement of other drivers. It starts in the parking lot of Legal Aid of Cambodia, and shows snippets of the very roundabout way I inadvertently took home. The shaking at the beginning is me jumping on the kick starter, thanks to the temperamental battery. My favorite part is at around 2:05, when you can see two dudes wheeling a rusty bicycle alongside their moto at high speed:

As you can see, the traffic in Phnom Penh is chaotic, to say the least. Of course I wear a helmet, but I consider myself an unusually safe driver here because I never drive into oncoming traffic. I also never transport more than one other person, though it's totally routine to see two adults and several small children on one moto. I also never administer intravenous medication on the moto:

Another road hazard here is the police, who routinely stop Westerners and demand on-the-spot "fines" for no good reason at all. So far I've managed to avoid being pulled over by veering into the middle lane whenever I see cops ahead, so that they can't easily flag me down.

For all the chaos, motoring around Phnom Penh is super fun. People seem to get a kick out of seeing a Westerner on an old beater like mine, instead of a more modern Honda, so I get lots of smiles and waves, especially from hack drivers (called motodop in Khmer) with the same kind of bike. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I prefer when you almost splatter that little girl at 2:40.