Saturday, March 10, 2012

Zoom Zoom

About 800 steps from our door is a four lane divided highway that runs up and down the peninsula.  A left turn takes us to Kesan and past the Kavakoy turn off (Cam's work) and a right takes us to Gelibolu. This highway doesn't have the same volume of traffic as the QEII and it's a good thing.

Cam's written about all the interesting vehicles we see as we drive around. The other thing that makes driving "interesting" here is the pedestrian and animal traffic.  While turning out of our community the other day, two men on foot, each with a long staff, were driving a herd of (20-25) cattle across the highway.  By the time we arrived all but one of the cows was safely across and the last cow was giving a herdsman trouble on the far side of the highway.  No way to stop a cow and no way to stop traffic, but it's an everyday part of life. It is also not unusual to overtake a dog trotting down the middle of one of the lanes, either coming toward you or heading in the same direction.  Sometimes they even cross the highway.  In small towns it's normal to share the road with a shepherd and a flock of sheep and goats.

Pedestrians are a concern as you get closer to town.  People walk everywhere and the idea of crossing at the corner doesn't exist.  People step off the curb, judge the distance before the next car and walk or stand and wait. In many parts of town there are no sidewalks, so the pedestrian traffic sometimes two and three abreast walk down the street and the cars, vans, pony carts, motorcycles and scooters edge around them. To drive here you must leave your Canadian sensibilities at home.  As a driver, you get the horn from the car behind you if you stop to let a pedestrian cross or slow to avoid running over the ancient man meandering down the middle of your lane on his way to the store.  Cam's gotten the horn for stopping at stop signs too!

It's also important to be vigilant of the other traffic.  It's not usual to have a vehicle coming toward you in your lane.  Once we met a man driving a scooter coming the opposite direction around the traffic circle in Gelibolu. A car parked along a street may mean that the driver beside you crowds into your lane to avoid it.  In larger cities it's not unusual to see four lanes of traffic crowded between the sidewalks at an intersection waiting for the light to change, when there are only three lanes painted on the road.

I put my international driver's license to use this week for the first time and got behind the wheel of the car.  I drove to and from Gelibolu without incident.  I now understand Cam's desire to go early in the day when there is less pedestrian and vehicle traffic!

1 comment:

  1. There are some so-so drivers here, and the rest range between bad and terrifying!

    Typical of drivers of company vehicles, every one of the drivers for the national partner turn into Ricky Racetrack Driver behind the wheel of the company vehicles.