You know you are in the real SE Asia, when road rules don’t exist and its motorcycle pandemonium. Singapore was too sterile. While we all know about the death penalty for drug smugglers in SEAsia, drink driving in Singapore would get you a $30,000 fine and 3 years in jail. Not that I have a problem with that law, in fact it probably works well. Singapore seems to be perpetually seeking perfection, via some pretty harsh laws.
So now I’m in Phnom Penh. Nothing here is perfect, but its working chaos and that is what people like about SE Asia. It is cheap, it works, it is easy to get around and sure a few scary moments on the roads. Phnom Penh has the feel of Ho Chi Minh City to it, not surprising as they are not far apart.
So once I managed to convince the staff at the Mad Monkey hostel I was perfectly able to walk to the Silver pagoda, I set off on quite a short walk actually. Other than crossing streets not too much to worry about. A few lovely boulevards, that were sadly missing on the drive in from the airport. However I walked around and around the royal palace compound looking for the silver pagoda. When I worked it out, I realised I’d taken several photos of it. It is called the silver pagoda, because the floor has silver tiles. I was expecting some shiny silver thing to jump out at me.
The staff at the Mad Monkey were glad to see I managed the walk. I’m wondering why westerners are targets for transport. All the travelers I’ve met over the years walk everywhere, which is what I tend to do, or use public transport where available. Alas there must be plenty who have no issues using a tuk-tuk. I realise its their job, but I kind of don’t like the feeling or the symbolism that I’m a rich westerner and using a local to drag me around town on a cyclo.
Maybe I’m getting too deep and meaningful here, or maybe its the $1 happy hour beer. Who knows? Tomorrow will be a sombre day as I’m planning to visit some sites with a sad history behind them.