Monday, April 2, 2012

Also, cars are terrifying here!

I totally forgot to mention in my last post (all of yesterday) about how absolutely scary it is to be in a motorized vehicle on these streets. So they drive on the left, which isn't that weird most of the time, except we have habits of walking on the right side of the road so that creates some issues. It is really stressful (for me at least, not so much for Mr. ATK) when we turn left without stopping to check oncoming traffic or when we veer to the left to avoid an oncoming car. (You see most of the time we drive down the middle of the street. If there are lines on the road, we are most likely straddling them. So the veering is really just getting back into your own lane, but it feels like you are veering into oncoming traffic--for me at least.)

The first Saturday in country we took a taxi back from a party and I'm not convinced his brakes worked at top capacity. Basically everyone in front of you has the right of way (from what I can tell) but you usually drive behind them and lay on the horn if its a slower vehicle (like a tuk tuk or a bicycle rickshaw) then swerve around them. Usually, though there are only two marked lanes of traffic on the road, there are in practice about five lanes (slightly staggered)--leaving about five inched of space between the cars. Plus motorcycles and scooters are constantly swerving in and out. I'm usually not concerned that I will be injured, mainly that my taxi will rear-end that scooter carrying a family of five on it and they will all get hurt.

Also, people honk their horns constantly. It's just one constant cacophony of horns sounding all day. Even bicycle rickshaws are always ringing their little bicycle bells. They will just lay on the horn as they speed down the street. I imagine it is to let other vehicles approaching uncontrolled intersections know that "This car is coming through and it ain't stopping for no man!"

And while traffic lights (of the red, yellow, green variety) are obeyed for the most part, flashing red and yellow lights mean nothing. People just drive right into the intersection. Then, of course, they must stop once they all meet in the middle. Then lots of honking ensues. If I were a sociologist, I might try to write a paper about that.

I am getting more acclimated--I even rode in a tuk tuk--but the honking gets really irritating at times. Perhaps it will eventually become like "white noise." We'll see.

1 comment:

  1. great idea for a blog! now I can keep track of what you and jonathan are up to.