February 28, 2010

Bike Blunders

Another day unscathed! It's a good feeling to walk up to the house at night having survived the day in Phnom Penh. Although I was nearly road kill on street 155 this afternoon, it was a very pleasant day.

So the road kill part—yeah, I was on my bike, returning from a 3-hour teaching training. Minding my own business, slowing at the corner to wait for my chance to cross 155, a small thoroughfare. I did the usual coast out a feet into the street, and then, out of nowhere a silver Lexus rolls up two feet from my left side and begins turning right. By turning right, I mean turning right into me. It was a slow motion scene of me expecting the car to stop, the car not stopping, and a bit of life-flashing-before-the eyes. I have no idea how the car didn't hit me, or how I escaped the certain doom of the other 15 obstacles on the street, but safely on the other side, I heard the hush of everyone on the street. My roommate, who had been about 25 yards behind me recounted the scene of Khmer women gasping and the entire street coming to a standstill for a brief moment: That car almost hit a barang on a kang! Apparently I caused quite a scene—And it was well-deserved. Although there seem to be no rules for Cambodian driving, there are general expectations, and that car was not abiding by the code. Cars are top dog on the road, but unsure foreigners on difficult bikes always have the right of way!