What I love about Cambodia is the sheer ingenuity and creativity of its people. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the money or resources – if there’s a will, there does indeed seem to be a way. It might involve some string, sellotape, a wing and a prayer, but so what?
One of the most worrying aspects of life in Cambodia is the lack of rule and regulation. Who ever thought they would miss red tape? Cars and motos know no bounds - a vehicle isn’t considered full if there aren’t ten people and a pig inside with a truck load of luggage tied to the roof. Here, you haven’t got a leg to stand on if you accidentally fall down a pot hole, and the third floor ‘Emergency Exit’ is a window with a bundle of rope and a make-shift anchor (to stop the rope falling through the window, you see, they’ve thought of everything). England would have a fit. But on the up side, at least there is an emergency exit.
I once read about a floating school made entirely from plastic crates. The walls were crates, the floor was crates and the desks were crates. And so the children sat learning their ABCs without complaint. And why not? It’s better than having no school at all, and at least it wont flood during the wet season.
And so, ironically, this free-for-all (as crazy as it seems at times) is also Cambodia’s greatest asset. Nothing is too much trouble. You can carry pretty much anything you want on a moto and be as creative as you’d like. Moving house? We can do that. Taking your pigs to the market? We have baskets, so we can do that too. Don’t have a field for your cows? Not a problem, just take them for daily walks like everyone else.
It’s great fun, and really quite useful – as long as you don’t spend too much time thinking about what it is you’re actually doing. The photos above are two of my favourites so far and shows our Tuk Tuk loaded to the gills with sofas, cushions and people. Actually, given the amount of padding we had inside, it’s probably the safest road trip I’ve taken so far.
Oh and sorry for the depressing posts recently, they followed a bunch of lectures and seminars on all that's bad about Cambodia, so I thought I'd put them both together and then move on to more cheery things....