SOL Challenge Day 7#
Well, that title is probably a little over the top, but we did drive past a truck today that was upside down with its wheels in the air, in a ditch on the side of the road ….
Every three weeks we make a trip to the capital for supplies that aren’t available locally.. Today we dropped our German cycling visitors off there for the next leg of their trip, so we had a chance to experience driving in this country again from a fresh perspective. These two have travelled through Pakistan, Georgia, Armenia and Iran, to name just a few countries, so they’ve experienced many different drivers and their idiosyncratic methods along the way.
They agreed that drivers here are definitely not the best. We shared how we used to travel to town, before we got our own vehicle, with twelve passengers plus a driver in a Tata Sumo (which is a bit like a jeep). The driver drove with half his bottom on his seat and a passenger on the other half and the passenger had the gear stick between his legs! Every time we went round a bend (of which there are many), someone’s head would loll onto your shoulder from one side or the other (local people can sleep ANYWHERE!). Cars tend to pull out in front of you unexpectedly or to stop suddenly (without working brake lights). Sometimes a driver will stop for a chat with someone on the roadside without bothering to pull over.
(A truck drove off a bridge near our house last year, someone may have been allowing a young boy a turn at the steering wheel?)
As dusk falls, my husband puts on the headlights; for the next half hour until it’s totally dark, oncoming drivers flash their lights at him (why have you put your lights on…it’s not completely dark?!) Our standing joke is that they believe turning on car headlights uses up extra fuel. This is a national highway, but people wander along the side of the road and sometimes you can barely see them, particularly without lights.
Even when it’s daylight, you never quite know what might be around the next twist in the road… some cows ambling across your path; young goats in search of greener grass or chickens going home to roost; perhaps a laden jeep with its 12 passengers inside and a few more on the roofrack, sitting on top of sacks of vegetables; quite frequently, a broken down truck with a few twigs sticking out of its wheel hub to indicate it’s not moving; or a vehicle piled so high with the bundles of reeds that brooms are made from, that it resembles a tortoise shaped haystack.
(This was from a trip home last year…)
We all agreed that driving on a ‘normal’ highway is pretty dull by comparison, but a whole lot safer!