Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Driving in Guyana- 1

At the risk of sounding elitist, the vast majority of the driving population should not be issued a licence and would pose a lesser danger on foot.
So, I was taking a shortcut through Albouystown last evening - big mistake as the bridge at the La Pentenance was under repairs so the World and His Wife was also taking the same shortcut-- rush hour in Guyana consists of brainless Learner drivers hesitantly letting every car from the side street ahead through and Minibuses creating their own lane from non-existing inner lanes. There was a bottle-neck at a junction as a lady in an old beatup minibus had stopped to buy 'dogfood' from a stand (a relatively new roadside phenomena)-- no signal or the thought of making a pretence of pulling in a bit to the side. Of course the Learner in front of me made to give her a pass but from some reason best known to herself she decided that mine was the chosen vehicle that would let her resume the slow crawl to the Mandela Avenue/DSL junction. My ire raised by the zooming minibuses and taxis to my left, I edged forward and muttered to myself-- where you going lady-- it took a while to dawn on her that I was not letting her through and she shouted at me that "you don't know bout courtesy". As my friend Sharmini says, I was left with my mouth open.
She continued the tirade about how people don't know to drive and I rued the fact that the window doesn't wind up properly without being dragged up from the top, and that in the event of someone coming around to my window I would be a goner.
Sudden silence (relatively) and I saw in my rearview mirror that she was now on her cellphone and I imagined a couple of thugs waiting to pounce at the next corner.

So on the reverse trip down this morning, I noticed that the shoulder at the Banks DIH turn has now eroded considerably with the same self-important people creating their own lane where none exists, I was thinking of writing a letter to the papers about it and got to the junction where I had to second guess what the guy on the inside lane was doing -- I fumed that no-one uses signals these days and whether I should write a letter to the papers when I heard a man on a laden bicycle shouting 'I coming though' as I was starting to turn left and had forgotten to put on my indicator!! (Seeing that I started out as a cyclist when I was an independent road-user I have always have a soft spot for them as opposed to hating motorcyclists who edge up in the corner then pull in front of your vehicle demanding to be treated as a car-- is THAT what they teach them in motorcycle school??) Aargh-- turning into a guyanese road-user!!

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