Sometimes It’s Better to Just Pay the Bribe

What not to do if you’re pursued by police in Phnom Penh.

As our car weaves through taxis, tuk tuks, pedestrians and bicycles piled with three or four kids balanced atop the rickety frames, a motorcycle-mounted police officer is in hot pursuit behind us. I can’t believe I’m in this situation and I don’t know how I’m getting out of it.

Flashback to Asia, 2006.

I landed in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, the day before but sans luggage due to a bad connection. That morning, the airport calls to say the bags have arrived, but that they don’t deliver and we need to return to the airport to pick them up. Our hotel offers to drive us for what seems like a reasonable price. Already overwhelmed by a country vastly different from my Canadian home, I delay learning how to negotiate taxis, let alone confirm if I can pronounce “tuk tuk” correctly.

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