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Cambodian traffic practices

If you intend to drive a car, a motorbike, a bicycle or just take walks on Cambodian roads or streets, please take in account the following practices. Yes, officially, the international traffic law is in force in Cambodia and there are campaigns to educate people in how to follow the traffic rules, but… one thing is on paper, another is on the streets… so for your safety and the one of others, follow this recommendations:

  • Cambodian drivers do not use driving license. It means that anybody with the possibility to move a vehicle, can drive, no matter if that person is 10 years old, has vision problems or never have been in a driving school. Technically there are several driving schools in each Cambodian province, but it does not mean that 100% of Cambodian drivers attend them. In theory yes, but few follow the driving lessons and the final exam is arranged by a dollar note. Police enforcement never requests driving license – at least it is about a foreigner to whom they would like to get some extra incomes. In particular, there is not driving license condition for motorbike drivers, so you can see children of 8 to 15 driving motorbikes on the roads, without any care for traffic rules – just because they never have been in a driving school.

The driving license in force in Cambodia are these:

Cambodian driving license Read More…

Water level of the Mekong Delta

Mekong water level through the years

      I found this this water level measurement in a Cham´s village near Can Tho and it was very much interesting to see how the different floods fluctuate along the years. A good topic within this April drought and the sea level increase that is putting in danger the Mekong Delta. Following this local measurement, I built that diagram that traces the flood level since 1994. It is possible to see that every 5 years there is a big flood, being the most important the one of April 2000 (I remember it very well). The 2000 flood reached 2 meters up (you can see in my own photo). Following this graphic, it is possible to predict that we will get a big flood this or next year, since the last big flood was in 2010.

       I found very wise the policy to adapt people to the sea intrusion, as the Vietnamese government is doing. But it needs also other meaningful adaptations such as the recovery of the jungle and the construction of of very expensive and super-technological floodgates (welcome Dutch people). But this fight against sea intrusion must not be seen as something of individual countries. In the case of the Mekong Delta, it does not affect Vietnam alone, but it includes Cambodia, while all countries along the Mekong basin should join together in a race against time.

Cambodia feels the hottest year on record

Cambodia draught and fires April 16 2016

In the middle of the dessert view, the green spots are consumed by uncontrolled fires caused by plastic garbage or vandals willing to clean the land from vegetation.

       Global warming is here and we caused it. On Friday, April 15, the temperature in Phnom Penh reached 40 degrees Celsius at midday, not so much different from Saigon, Bangkok and Vientiane, marking a Southeast Asian drought that is already concerning the economies of the region.   Read More…

Taxi scams in Hanoi

The driver of this Hanoi's cup is a scammer, trying to charge foreign passengers up to 30 USD per just 2 kilometers. Be careful if you take cubs or motorbikes in Vietnam. If you are a victim of a scam, take photos. Contract first with the driver and be sure you got a previous agreement before taking any service - write in a paper what you understand. If you don't feel the guy is fair, abort the contract.

Taking a public service in Hanoi can be a little challenging. The language barrier and the highly devaluated currency, are used by occasional scammers to profit foreign tourists as much as they can. International tourism is getting its golden time in Vietnam and it attracts already good effects like more young people able to speak English or the use of US dollars on tourist areas facilitating transactions. But still not easy to take a cub on the street for a nearby destination: it is likely you will be victim of a scam, even with the use of an altered taximeter.

The driver of this Hanoi's cup is a scammer, trying to charge foreign passengers up to 30 USD per just 2 kilometers. Be careful if you take cubs or motorbikes in Vietnam. If you are a victim of a scam, take photos. Contract first with the driver and be sure you got a previous agreement before taking any service - write in a paper what you understand. If you don't feel the guy is fair, abort the contract.

The driver of this Hanoi’s cup is a scammer, trying to charge foreign passengers up to 30 USD per just 2 kilometers. Be careful if you take cubs or motorbikes in Vietnam. If you are a victim of a scam, take photos. Contract first with the driver and be sure you got a previous agreement before taking any service – write in a paper what you understand. If you don’t feel the guy is fair, abort the contract.

On April 14 I took a Taxi CP from the Hoàn Kiếm lake to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. The taximeter marked 30,000 Dong, that is a little more than one dollar. Here it is right normal and the taxi driver is a honest man. But going back, from the Temple of Literature to the Cathedral, same distance (2 kilometers), same taxi company, here we find a brave scammer… Read More…

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