Death Traps of South East Asia
Flash forward to my recent trip to Bali and I am taking a stroll around Seminyak, an upmarket beach suburb. It turns out you have to be very careful not to get too distracted by the boutiques because you really do need to keep your eyes on the footpath. In the same way you wouldn’t take your eyes off a cobra, you should never stop watching the concrete because there are giant holes looming at every step.
For a nation that seems perfectly capable of building five-star resorts it is puzzling that the humble footpath is such an engineering challenge. Every couple of metres, someone is concreting something, fixing something or digging something up. Your options really are ‘walk into oncoming traffic’ or ‘leap over an open drain’.
Every country I have been to in South East Asia suffers from the same lack of concern for the absent-minded walker. A friend of mine once fell into an abyss at least a metre deep in Vietnam, breaking her ankle and providing raucous entertainment to the locals who not only did not help her but also stood around laughing as she struggled to disengage herself from the gaping maw of the underworld.
Travellers, beware. You might think that rusty looking bungee jumping rig at Legian Beach is a death trap but the truth is that danger is right under your feet.