Some of the readers of this blog may remember that away back in September (the 4th to be exact) I posted a blog about my cyclopousse tour of Phonm Penh, when I was much taken with the very dangerous traffic behaviour here, so much so that I posted several little video clips of ‘near misses’.
When my cousin Mary was here last weekend she asked a very interesting question which I had to think quite hard about. She asked ‘when did you really feel you had settled?’ You know what? I don’t think I realised how settled I was until she asked that question. It had just kind of grown on me, little bit by little bit, as I got my house sorted out, as I got a variety of places to go, as I worked out how to live comfortably on $340 a month, as I met up with my new friends, as I got more and more work to do… and above all, as I got comfortable riding a bicycle around PP.
There were three parts to my cycling conversion. The first was just becoming a better cyclist, being able to thread gaps, to maintain movement and balance at very slow speeds and being able to turn and look behind without hurting my neck. The second was getting a decent bike, with brakes that worked etc. (see the blog for 14.11.10). The third was just becoming used to the traffic here and being able to anticipate what local drivers might do and using their strategies (pushing yourself into narrow spaces ahead of other people, turning left on the ‘inside corner’ etc) to keep moving, as the most difficult thing of all is to stop and then everyone around you who is moving can go in front and you can never get started again.When Mary asked me the question I suddenly realised I had become quite settled without knowing it.
You will not be astonished then to hear that I accepted an invitation to guide the cyclotour for the new volunteers who arrived on Thursday of this week (3rd March). John and I gave a session on road safety etc on Friday evening and then on Saturday did a little tour guide act on our bicycles for the new group, one of us leading at the front and the other doing a ‘sheep dog act’ at the rear, while they were taken round in style by the cyclopousse drivers. How ludicrous that I, who only a short while ago had to steel myself to go out onto the streets, should now be the one taking other people round! I think I can safely say now that I am definitely settled.
On the other hand, I now have only 4 weeks, i.e.19 working days, to complete my remaining project work. This is rather unsettling It’s a real challenge, so much so that I will not blog about it, as I think I should get on with the work right now! Sometime I have to write about work, but not today (6th). Too much to do!