Haat praan

I’m not sure how many of you are following this blog, as I have very few comments.  Comments are welcome!   Those of you who have commented seemed to like my cycle video.  Encouraged by this, I am going to give you one or two more little video extracts over the next week.  I’m taking a longer view of the work situation and don’t feel it’s quite the right time yet to provide reflection and comment there.  I still have a lot to learn.  So for the moment it is little bits and pieces of daily life.

From my house it is around 3 mins walk to the road that encircles the ‘Hun Sen’ park, which is in three different sections: one runs up towards the Independence Monument; a second, at right angles and across a road, runs up towards the Royal Palace;  a third continues on towards the river, across another bisecting road.  It takes around 3 minutes to get there and then around 30 mins to cross the road.  OK.. an exaggeration, but it would take 30mins if you were not willing to take some risks as you navigate your way in and around the moving traffic, always trying to work out if you are safer standing still in the middle of the road, or walking in front of a car/motorbike/tuktuk in the expectation that they will slow down a little.   So far it has, although I have had one or two close shaves, especially in the dark, but I am posting up a couple of short video extracts to show traffic at both ends of the park as it gets dark.. the traffic gets much worse after dark as many motorbikes do not use lights (does it use up a little extra fuel??).   These were taken on Tuesday evening when the city feels a bit quieter than it did at the weekend – quite a lot of people seem to have taken the holiday early and left already.

Video 1  shows the road that bisects the park.  Just as I got the camera out to take this, a motorbike was knocked over in the melee, as you can perhaps see.  He seemed to recover OK (!!).  Notice bikes and cars taking opposite sides of the road – the quickest route to their next turning.

The road that bisects the park!

Video 2 show the roundabout round the Independence Monument. It’s a crazy place.  Note the sneaky car in the near view who decides to go round the roundabout the wrong way as he wants to do a 350 turn to come back down the other side of the park, but can’t be gassed going round the roundabout the whole way.  As a cyclist, you try to get a car on your outside and then let it push its way through the traffic, with you on the other side of it, using it as a kind of shield.  This plan can break down if the car accelerates away too fast and leaves you exposed to a group of bikes / cars who are accelerating now that the car that was protecting you is out the way.  The whole thing seems to work as long as people go slow.  It cannot work with boy racer type speeds.  Unfortunately I suspect that there will be more and more of that sort of driving and there are bound to be more accidents as a result.

Independence Monument Roundabout

Why do I want to cross the road?  Well, if you can attain the park side of the road, you can then walk – on a decent pavement, with no motorised vehicles / parked cars / lorries / cyclos / bikes on the pavement forcing you into the road and no further roads to cross.   And people do that of an evening… again not so many this evening.   Some walk round and round (I did four circuits in about 40 mins at a leisurely pace), some run, some do various forms of stretching, lots of young men play football and as it gets dark, the ‘dancing waters’ around the Vietnam war memorial are the setting for young and old line dancers to do their stuff… I will try to get some film of this although it tends to be dark by the time they start up.  Since it’s a good 12 minutes for me to get to the river (where, as I mentioned before, you can walk without having to bother about traffic etc for a good kilometre or so), the park offers a closer location for exercise.. or as they call it hear ‘haat praan’, literally ‘practise body’.  There have been no ill effects on my knee from this gentle walking so I’m dead chuffed!  Who knows I may even step up the pace!

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16 thoughts on “Haat praan

  1. Danny, thoroughly enjoying the bloggs inclduing the clips. have to say, the traffic’s not quite as good as the Indian stuff tho’ perhaps more exciting since there is space to get up some speed!!! I’m also about to go to Knoydart on a government ‘natural change’ programme next week and the first task is to get into the blogging and having bad mouthed it for some time in some of its manifestations, it’s coming hard. I was quoting the exceptions to my rule in enjoying yours and Ken Goodwin’s accounts of the VSO experiences but all these have done have given me an extra challenge since i don’t think they’re going to match up to you fellows standards!!!! Keep it up. It’s a great read when i catch a second or two to open them!!! Was recounting your night out for the ‘posh’ dinner invite to the gang at Council last week – much enjoyed and they send regards! Careful on the bike – remember your age!
    Ken

    • Hi Ken
      I don’t know how you get the time to read this, but thanks for comments – much appreciated. I approve of giving the guys at Council a laugh at my expense. I have gone from being at the top of my game to being an almost complete incompetent, in one long flight!! It would be good to see Ken’s blog if you have a link to it! Meantime keep up the good work… I hope you have CforEx sorted by the time I get back.
      D

  2. Danny,

    I have been reading your blogs and found them really interesting. The photos and videos also bring the experience to life. You seem to be having a great time – although you appear to have swopped one chaotic lifestyle for another.

    It will not surprise you to know that the life of a Heidie back home is not getting any easier! Too little money and too much interference from those with little knowledge of how schools work. You should be pleased to learn that I found myself quoting the ‘Danny Murphy oil rig analogy’ today to a new head of finance who was trying to convince us that we should organise ourselves better to fit in with the new Council financial reporting procedures.
    I admire your courage at taking on this venture. I think that when my time comes it will be holidays in the USA, Australia, Celebrity Cruise line etc. i.e. anywhere that I can encounter peace & quiet in comfortable surroundings.

    Take Care
    John

    • Hi John
      great to hear from you!
      I always like the oil rig analogy. It works particularly well if you start getting a bit agitated and passionate about it.. which I always found myself doing. I really miss the job (believe it or not!!) as it’s such an absorbing privilege to be par to a school community.. and funnily enough I kind of miss the ea hassle -because it’s really only experienced guys like yourself (and I like to think myself) that are able to steer schools through those troubled waters. Think what schools would be like if they are run by the head of finance… or the chief exec. LTH would not be big enough for the pile of complaints.’
      I’ve heard remarkably little from anyone at school.. too busy with school I guess. What I have picked up is that Clacks continues to distinguish itself in relation to my replacement, after taking five months to advertise the post in the wrong place at the wrong time. I know you now have an insider’s view so won’t put you on the spot on that.. but I think Jackie E is a great appointment for Alloa.
      Take care with those holidays. You can get food poisoning on a cruise ship as well you know!
      Comments always welcome.. however brief.

  3. Hi again pop, brings back good memories seeing all the PP traffic. Ha ha the driving on the wrong side of the road to make a turn is classic South East Asia style, pretty fun when you’re on the back of a bike being driven by an experienced local, but very scary when you’re driving yourself! Keep up the good work, the name of the game seemed to me to be no unpredictable movements… : ) xxx

    • I now always cross the road before the turning and go up the wrong side first – it’s much safer than sitting in the middle of the road watching the oncoming traffic when you’re just as likely to get hit!!
      I ran into a motorbike yesterday as he crossed the road to the wrong side, saw me coming and stopped (what was I going to do?) – well my brakes weren’t good enough so I hit him in slow motion. thankfully no damage to him or me or either bike! hope that ”s the worst accident I have.
      love
      dad

  4. Just want you to know Danny I am a big fan of the blog and get quite peeved if you miss a few days. The traffic is mental – don’t go out for a walk after a couple of glasses of wine whatever you do!! Lesley.

  5. Just to let you know that John and I have been following your blog and are always waiting to see what is going to happen next. I love the little videos you share with us but find the background noises are half the fun. I think crossing that street or riding your bike around towns deserves some kind of medal. Take care.

  6. Hey Unky D, I’m following your blog and very much enjoying it. I could completely relate to your “the loneliness of the…” posting. I went through phases of feeling like that during my first couple of months in NZ, even though that was nowhere near the same magnitude of culture shock/lifestyle change as you are experiencing. One day it occurred to me not only that I had settled in, but that it had happened a few weeks before without me noticing! Susan x

    • Hi Niece-y Sue
      Nice comment… I’m sure you”re right that it ‘s all a question of time!!
      ‘When do you head off to Seattle? is the choir all ready and well rehearsed? any last mnute panics??
      love
      unky d

  7. Hi there dear brother
    I am really enjoying your blog Danny; day to day life is always fascinating. Having never been to this part of the world, it gives a real sense of being there and the images and sound really add to the experience of the distant observer. Have just caught up having been preoccupied with my work partner Peter’s retirement party which was inspired by your “This Is Your Life” send off. It was a great evening. Like the teapot and mugs a lot! How many disaster defying road crossings do you have to make to get to work?
    I am so impressed with what you are doing and your road crossinh tales- might be a book in there!
    With Love from Liz

  8. Hey Unky D, I leave for Seattle on Saturday. The chorus have reached untold levels of excitement- I think it’s going to be quite a week! Then am going to San Fran, Yosemite and down the Pacific Coast Highway. Can’t wait! Susan x

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