The big book of SE Asian Transportation


If I ever wrote a book about automotive transportation in southeast Asia, I think I might call it Following the Horn. I thought up this title as my bus was barrelling through morning Phnom Phen traffic with the horn blaring about 80% of the time. I've spent a lot of time listening to how the driviers (whether bus, taxi, or moto) use their horn. They use it to say "move!", "I'm right behind you", "It's safe to pass me", "It's not safe to pass me", "You're going too slow", "Thank you", and just about anything else. Different drivers use it to different degrees, but enivitably, you feel like you are truly being led through traffic by your vehicle's horn.

The more I think about it, the more fun it would be to write a book like this. You could have a chapter named Hello Moto about the prevalence of motos, esp. moto taxis and their overaggressive drivers. Now that's what I call carpooling would be a chapter containing images of some of the most overloaded cars, trucks, and motorbikes that you have ever seen. The pictures for the chapter called The 100cc Family Car would be great, yet somewhat disturbing to mothers of young children. Necessary Daredevil would recount how transportation in SE Asia is often an at-your-own-risk type affair. Even crossing the street is a stunt worthy of Superdave.

Maybe it would have to be mostly a picture book. Which means this post shouldn't be a pictureless post. But it is, because I ain't no Ansel Adams. (Heck, I ain't even a Josh Root.)
Thursday November 30 2006File under: travel, transportation

Toggle Comments (6)comment?
on Thu 30th Nov, 2006 11:09 pm UTC Mom and Maxima Marilyn said:
How about a duct-taped Datsun section? Marilyn is feeling left out and forgotten with all your new and exciting modes of transportation.
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on Fri 01st Dec, 2006 04:24 am UTC Jule said:
They may use their horn, but do you have to get in through the sunroof and does it shake like the dickens when pushed over 50 mph? Seriously though, write the book, take lots of pictures of crazy transportation situations!
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on Fri 01st Dec, 2006 05:11 am UTC Sarah F said:
it would sell. i just saw a book in which a guy took photos of everything he put in his mouth for a year and published it. if people would buy that, they'd buy your book too- i'm sure of it!
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on Fri 01st Dec, 2006 05:13 am UTC Sarah F said:
AND- to top it off, that book was in a super trendy shop in the Pearl (in portland). you could be trendy too... :->
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on Fri 01st Dec, 2006 07:16 am UTC Horge said:
Definitely do it, if for no other reason than that cool title! (maybe you should edit this post up a bit so that some bastard doesn't come along and steal your concept from you) My mom's told me I should write a book about my travels too. But at least yours are interesting, mine are just "Yeah I live here. I went to class I went to work..." I mean, I can't even go a day without reading your blog. Plus I'm all the time telling my girlfriend about wat you're doing and where. It's wicked interesting!
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on Sun 03rd Dec, 2006 07:55 pm UTC Kevin Iga said:
There's also crazy U turns, jamming on the brakes at the last minute to end up inches from the person in front of you, parking on the sidewalk (I saw that in Taipei),... In Xian I saw people laying cobs of corn in the highway to be run over by cars to help with the harvesting process. In general, though, people don't drive as fast here as they do in the States. It's hard to notice, though, since the streets are narrower, and so it seems like you're going faster. Here in Hong Kong it's more sane, but only just.
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