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Thursday, December 13, 2007 

2nd, 3rd.... Go!

When I was young, I had this small 4 wheel cycle that had a metal plate in front painted with a number which made it looked like a formula racer. It had a pair of small paddle ( like a paddling boat) and a steering wheel. I always imagined I was driving a real formula racer.

My sister is 3 years elder than me, and with her height, she got a real bicycle. Everytime we raced, she always won. My pride as a formula racer was badly smashed. I cried and ran to my mom.

She told there's nothing wrong not to be the fastest. Being slower is ok because it's better be safe than never. She put me back on the four wheel cycle, pretended to be the linesman; "Ok, ready.... 1, 2, Go!"

Just had a nice trip with Bonnie and two of our good friends to Cambodia. A very nice trip indeed.

Like any other trips or vacation, i m more interested in observing the "human" side of the locals than whatever their ancestors leftover to them. Well, they're nice too, like the Angkor Wat, Royal Palace and such. However, I had a more enjoyable time seeing them walk, drive, eat, talk, laugh; seeing their markets, roads, shops. Everyday life.

I first thing i noticed, immediately we got outta of the airport, is the way they drive. Having recently haunted by India's chaotic traffic, I was expecting the same thing in Cambodia; at least some similarity. How wrong was I! The driving there is extremely polite! The traffic structure might still a little chaotic and not well planned, but at least in terms of speed, I was totally shocked.

In India's road, a car cant kill a man because no car has the space to drive fast. It's basically bumper to bumper traffic 24 hours a day. In cambodia, no car WILL kill a man because of the way they shift gear!

Take our driver for example, the 1st gear never exist. He started moving the car from idle speed in 2nd gear. While the car started to pick up in a 50second to 100km rate, and the speed is still under 20km/h; if there's a car in front, probably50 meters away (Also probably speeding like 35km/h), breaks, we could feel our driver started to release pressure on his pedal!

The more amazing thing is, he ll shift to 3rd gear!

I must say this is definitely very alien to us, the hot blooded Malaysians. Imagine this: Just outside of midvalley, you are speeding 20km/h in 2nd gear and 50 meters in front there's a car slow down, and you shift to 3rd gear while reducing your speed to probably 17km/h. What would the driver behind you say?

From amazed, to shocked (lots of "Wa Lau" commented), to even frustrated and worried (How many days would he need to drive from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh), in the end, all we could do was just make a laugh at it and told ourselves at least be late but safe than be sorry.

That's all we could do, under constant frustration created by a 2nd gear pick-up.

Well, suddenly I remember my mom and my four wheel cycle.

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