Friday, March 14, 2008
Driving in the Middle East
In light of the recent disaster on the Dubai- Abu Dhabi road in the United Arab Emirates (pictured above) here are some comments on driving in the ME from BBC news readers (by that I mean "readers of the news", not "newsreaders"). I like the one about drivers in Israel not knowing how to handle rain! We say that all the time here. It's like all hell breaks lose and there are accidents everywhere.
In my own experience, it's rather like bumper cars or go-carts, only with more expensive and more destructive vehicles, usually driven by less than qualified drivers, minors, or rich kids who don't give a shit who they hurt and will only ever slow down if they see a female walking alongside the road so he can desperately try to either get her number or haul her off to rape her in the desert. Okay, okay, not EVERY driver there does that, but I'm describing the worst ones.
I recall a time when I was so sick and tired of all these cars slowing down to try to talk to me that I kicked the last one I saw that day. It wasn't as dramatic as I'd hope as I was wearing sandals that day. It was actually kind of pathetic and the guy laughed.
Should you ever find yourself driving in the Middle East, please take these factors into consideration:
1) Red lights are optional.
2) Rules don't apply to the rich.
3) No, that isn't a car driving itself, it's a 10 year old kid.
4) Indicators? We don't need no stinkin' indicators. You'll KNOW when I'm changing lanes when you see my license plate inches from your face.
5) Windows may be tinted to the point that the driver may as well be wearing a tea cosy over his head.
6) Single digit vanity plates are worth more than your child's college education.
7) Should you take a taxi alone and you're female, assume it as a given that 40% of your taxi drivers will try to molest you, even if you're in your damn school uniform and you tell the man you don't care if he "loves" you, just turn right at the next stop sign so you can get out the damn car and get started on your homework.
8) NEVER under ANY circumstances slow down as you approach a zebra crossing (crosswalk) because no one else freaking does. Those pedestrians know damn well what they're getting themselves in to when they take one step out onto that road. It's Frogger from here on in, baby!
The funny thing is, I thought it was bad there, but nothing prepared me for Cairo! In Cairo, LANES are optional, but that's an entirely different story for another day.