In countries like Vietnam and Cambodia, most people can not afford to buy a truck, or even a car. But a scooter or a bicycle is within reach of most ordinary citizens and I think that one of the most fascinating aspects of visiting Vietnam and Cambodia, is to watch the street scene and see with what creativity that the locals use 2 wheels to carry the whole family as well as the whatever they have been buying or selling that day.
I have leaned my lessons too.
Once I was about to take a cycling trip through Vietnam, I was looking for some panniers for my luggage at a local bicycle store In Danang, but when I asked the owner if he had panniers for sale, he said “why don’t you just tie your backpack to your bicycle rack?” When I looked a little skeptical, he just laughed at me and said that if he could tie two live pigs to his bicycle, then I should be able to tie my backpack to a bicycle too. After that I have actually taken several trips where I have just tied my luggage to the bike myself and while I will still say that it’s better to have panniers when doing a long bicycle tour, it’s certainly doable to not have panniers and just do like the locals and tie your luggage to the rack with some string or a couple of bungee cords.
People who are that creative will always survive.
I think it’s as uplifting as it’s comical to see how the vietnamese and cambodians manage to get by in almost all aspects of life without ever having a car or a truck and my opinion is that these countries can only keep going forward when they have that sort of creativity. Both countries have gone through some recent wars that has really torn the places apart and thrown many on to poverty, but traveling through these countries today is mostly an uplifting experience, simply because people never sit and moan about all the things they don’t have, but strive to get what and where they want and I think that this attitude is very much reflected in the creativity you see on the roads in these two wonderful countries.