Saturday, 1 December 2012

A Potential New Hobby

I don't know if I've mentioned before how crazy the roads are here and how bad the driving is, so I'll say it again just in case. The roads are crazy here and the driving is very bad. A lot of main roads are dual carriageways or bigger and extremely busy. Life as a pedestrian here is not easy, partly due to the big roads but also because the drivers generally act as if walking is an alien concept.
Out on the streets and indeed in our apartment, we constantly hear the screech of breaks and the skidding of tires. People drive fast, brake fast and relish skidding and handbrake turns.
It's funny to me that women are deemed unsuitable drivers, yet young boys are not. I have seriously seen boys that look as young as twelve behind the wheel. The other day I saw a little boy driving along with his door open, watching the floor instead of the road ahead as he went. At least when they're older they just look at their phones whilst driving rather than the ground.
The price of petrol is extremely low here, I believe it to be less than one Riyal per litre (approx 17p) and I think you can see that in the way they drive, and in how many cars are on the road. People are also not afraid to bash their cars, and it appears that vehicles are almost never deemed unroadworthy. I've seen bumpers hanging off, smashed bonnets, and cracked and even smashed windscreens, but none of this seems to matter. 
I don't know if this made international news (I think it should've really) but in the Eid holiday there was a massive accident where an oil tanker crashed into a flyover, exploding and killing around 26 people. It happened in our area of the city, but we were in Sri Lanka at the time, although we saw the aftermath on our return. It was pretty scary to look at, as several nearby buildings were completely destroyed and ones further away had no windows. From what I've heard, this was an accident caused primarily by lack of care taken on the roads.
The other day driving home from work I also saw an accident where a car had gone into a huge lamppost. The lamppost had fallen, landing on top of the car and crushing it from front to back. I think these things are quite regular occurrences here.

On a lighter note, it is entertaining to see what happens to a car when the driver has finally had enough of the state it's in. There are 'car graveyards' dotted around, where people dump their wrecked cars for good.

Other than driving recklessly, another popular pastime here is playing with the abandoned cars. So here we have it, if we get really, really bored here, we might just take up a new hobby- burning out cars!

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