Living in Phnom Penh: Me? Learning to Drive a Motorbike?

General, Living in Phnom Penh / Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Last Sunday, after a sumptuous lunch at my mother-in-law’s house (again :D), the family were having some lively discussion about motorbikes and driving around Phnom Penh. I was merely listening (ahem! pretending to listen I mean) though I hardly understood what were all talking about.

I’m really pretty good at this, hehe pretending to be part of their discussion, nodding my head occassionaly, haha but really I understand only bits and pieces. If I hear something interesting, I just give my husband, Hi-ace a nudge (sometimes a kick :P) to translate for me. Other times, Chinkee would do the translation, though sometimes I highly doubt the accuracy of her translation, like last time we were watching TV, and the host said,

“Sohm, Aw Kohn. Sohm Chum Reap Lear.”

Chinkee’s translation: “Zero, Thank You. Zero Goodbye.”

Hubby says it simply means, ‘Thank you. Goodbye.’ Though they added ‘sohm’ which more or less means ‘please’ in English to make it more formal. Chinkee thinks that ‘sohm’ is the same as ‘sown’, the Khmer word for zero and she refuses to believe otherwise. Talk about being stubborn.

Anyway, where was I again? Oh last Sunday, while they were talking, Ma (my mother-in-law) asked if I was bored just being in the house most of the time and doing work online. She was thinking maybe I should learn how to ride a motorbike so I could go wherever I please whenever I feel bored. Which is what I usually do but I normally just flag a moto-dop (moto taxi) or a tuk-tuk in case I want to go somewhere and Hi-ace is not there to drive me around. I have no problem with this really, I even semi-mastered the art of bargaining with the drivers and telling them where I want to go.

But Ma and my nieces and nephews think that I’ll have more freedom if I drive around by myself. I was thinking, duh!!! It scares me enough to walk a couple of meters in any road here in Phnom Penh because of those suicidal drivers. I’ll probably die of anxiety if I ever drive a motorbike here. Hi-ace told them though that I have the heebie-jeebies whenever the subject of driving around Phnom Penh comes up. I mean, come on! The utter chaos on the streets here just drives me nuts and scares me a lot. I’ll never say never but then if I ever do take on the streets of Phnom Penh, then I need to have a solid medical assistance program at my beck and call, plus I should be helmeted from top to bottom. Which Chinkee now says would make me look really ridiculous. (This is really so like my daughter to think of vanity in life and death situations!!)

Besides, another reason I have little interest in learning how to drive a motorbike or even a car, is that I am a total klutz, my hand and eye coordination is a mortifying ZERO, and I’m a nervous wreck around anything with wheels and anything mechanical. I think I would suffer an anxiety attack and like what if a maniac driver just decides I would make a great collision partner and I need to step on the brake and in panic I step on the accelerator or things like that? You know, I always think similar situations would happen to me and I would freak out. The slogan down below really best describes me..Those who really know me would agree..

Driving anything is one of the things I don’t do well (the other one is multiplying/dividing/adding/subtracting fractions in my head) but I’m thinking its something that I should overcome.. I know, my daughter rides her bike better than I do, but if I could learn learn how to ride a bike 18 something years ago, maybe I could try learning how to drive a motorbike or a car?

Maybe I should make that a goal before I turn 35? Hi-ace is laughing his head off at this and assures me it wouldn’t take 4 1/2 years for me to learn how to drive. He’s positive I could learn in less than a month or two. Hmmm. It’s sad, Hi-ace totally doesn’t know I’m horribly inept in this area. Haha he even volunteered to teach me. Well, I’m sure he’ll regret it once we get started. 😛

8 Replies to “Living in Phnom Penh: Me? Learning to Drive a Motorbike?”

  1. I’m really pretty good at this, hehe pretending to be part of their discussion, nodding my head occassionaly, haha but really I understand only bits and pieces.

    lol, that’s what i am always doing~~

  2. I recall when I learned to ride a motorcycle.  It had so much power I ended up setting the bike down on cement and scraped my elbow up real bad.
    If I were you I would still learn to ride.  Just take it much slower then I did and wear proper protective gear!

  3. I’d definitely agree with Bill about the gear.  I’ve been riding a few years now and won’t even sit on my bike without a helmet, jacket, and gloves.  There isn’t much around you to keep you safe so you have to do the best you can.

  4. @Bill, you’re right. I should really try to learn and at the back of my mind I want to. I have to find the motivation somewhere and do away with my nerves..

    @Bryan, exactly what I was thinking. unlike a car, there’s nothing really around me in a motorbike..

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