More car and transport thoughts. Starting to worry about thinking so much about this and not just relaxing etc. But observations keep intriguing me. To cut some short, here they are in short.
The road ‘system’ here is simple it seems. If a bit scary. Basically: Avoid a crash or have one. No mitigation like in the UK or elsewhere, a la “it was my right of way, he should have looked, she’s a bad driver not me” and so on. Here, it seems like it’s your responsibility not to crash into a slow moving TukTuk or a fast moving bus or an overtaker in the middle of the road or a cow or a dog etc.
Keep your wits about you because other people come out of nowhere, and from either side of the road. It reminds me of my cycling in London mantra: Ride like no one can see you (except the police). If you expect everyone else to pay attention and see you and follow all the rules, you’re very likely to encounter and hit someone that doesn’t meet your expectations. Realise that anyone could do anything at any time and you’ll drive more carefully, and so might they. It’s mutually assured destruction for the road.
There’s also a language of horns here, which seem to be more chatty than horns in the UK or elsewhere. More ‘meep’ than ‘BEEP!’ Like Roadrunner. They use them a lot, but as genuine attempts to tell someone about their presence. Like, “Hey, hey, hello, yo, yo, yo, coming past, right behind you.” It never seems passive aggressive like ‘I’M HERE! HELLO! JUST GIVING YOU A ‘WARNING’ AFTER YOU PULLED OUT IN FRONT OF ME, OK!’
And that friendly, or at least, not passive aggressive quality extends even further: I haven’t seen any road rage. None. I catch myself jumping and thinking “Idiot!” or “What were they thinking!” but our drivers never flinch.
Maybe it’s the Buddhist influence? It’s cultural for sure, as every driver we’ve had and all those we’ve seen have been the same. I’m starting to feel like a testosterone filled oaf for the automatic thoughts I have about other ‘crazy’ drivers. They’re just driving man! You do the same and look out for yourself. Going to try and bring that home for sure.
Yellow crossings. Like Zebra crossings but yellow, and, with no seeming relevance to anything. As in, people cross where they can and drivers never slow unless they they really have to (meaning, that they’re endangered if they don’t). The hierarchy of Lorry, Bus, Van, Car, TukTuk, Motorbike, Bicycle and Pedestrian seems to be another soft sort of rule, but again, not one you’d want to rely on or expect to be followed. It just mostly works. Also cows might come after busses in that list, or at the very top. Can’t quite tell if they’re as sacred here as elsewhere in the continent.
Finally, Lanka Ashok Leyland and TATA. Two massive brands on the road here. Both seem to make 70s/80s Tonka toy-like vehicles in their design aesthetic. Maybe because that’s how old they are?
OK. Think I’ve exorcised all my road worthy thoughts for now. Need to get back to holiday. Elephants tomorrow!