The first thing I noticed after landing in southeast Asia was…
… The traffic. Traffic like you have never seen.
Traffic lights are just green, yellow and red suggestions. “You might consider, at this intersection, stopping or at least slowing when the red light appears. But feel free to do whatever you want.”
Crosswalks aren’t much other than dares. “G’wan, just try it!”
One way streets aren’t even a suggestion. Go whichever way you please. Road too congested? Use the sidewalk. Those pesky pedestrians will get out of your way.
Yes, it’s really like that.
And, for some reason I can’t quite understand, it all works. There are no shaking fists, no loud swearing, no road rage. Yes, there are bleating horns, but those aren’t angry blasts, they’re simply, “I’m over here so please watch for me.”
It’s an evolving fluidity. Chaotic on the surface but with an underlying pattern.
I guess that’s what Vietnam and Cambodia are. From the darkest of dark histories, the poorest of the poor nations, they are just now starting to blossom.
And it has taken a lot of manure.
So forgive them their insane traffic. Their relentless hawkers. Their crazy markets.
Just like the traffic, I think there’s an underlying pattern that isn’t easily discernible by my Western sensibilities.
The place is still nutso-crazy to me. And I will miss it.
On to South Africa by way of Dubai. When I land in Cape Town I will have been travelling almost non-stop for about 20 hours. So if I’m a little late in keeping the blog updated, well, that’s why.