Landcruiser

Hanoi, Vietnam -- 07 July 2004 | Permalink

Thanks to this handy guide, you can now tell where you are in South-East Asia, just by looking at the vehicles.

The first thing to do is to establish which country you're in. This is easy enough: just wait a couple of minutes or less, and you will see a white Toyota Landcruiser (or Nissan Patrol).

Laos
The Landcruiser has "UXO Lao", or "Mines Advisory Group" painted on the driver's door. There are four 100kg sacks of rice in the back.
Cambodia
The Landcruiser has "Family Health International", "Oxfam", or "CARE" painted on the driver's door. It has an exhaust pipe rigged for deep-wading and an antenna mount on the front fender.
Vietnam
The Landcruiser has the name of a hotel painted on the driver's door. There are four elderly tourists in the back.
Thailand
The LandCruiser is black, and has nothing painted on the door because it is privately owned. It has tinted windows and chromed bull-bars.

In a similar way, you can tell which city you're in from the first motorcycle you see.

Vientiane
There are four people on the motorcycle, representing at least three generations of the same family, plus a load of green bamboo.
Bangkok
There are two people on the motorcycle. The driver wears an orange fluorescent jacket with a number on the back; the passenger is a young woman who is sitting nonchalantly side-saddle, fixing her lipstick or combing her hair while the bike weaves in and out of the lanes of grid-locked traffic. Despite the blazing heat and the clouds of choking pollution, she looks immaculate.
Phnom Penh
There is one person on the motorcycle. He is a teenage boy wearing a baseball cap, and he is driving very slowly about a foot away from you, shouting “Mister! Moto-taxi! You go Royal Palace, Killing Field, OK?”. Sometimes there will be a second motorcycle taxi driver doing the same thing on the other side of you.
Hanoi
The motorcycle has just run over your foot.