Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Driving Space - Or Lack Thereof?

Yesterday, we glided over deep, dark water in a boat and flew over sand in a buggy. All the while, we stayed in the same country of Peru. I must say, this country is a bit confusing. We saw wild sea lions and penguins and later the same day slid down massive sand dunes. The day before, we were sitting in traffic in Lima.
Although the sea and desert offer expansive panoramic views with little to no people, city life is extremely different, especially Lima. The streets are narrow, and the cars are very friendly with each other even if the drivers of them aren't. In other words, we're stuck together like sardines. Here, "we" includes pedestrians, motorcyclists, and the occasional stray animal. The lane lines tend to be optional, especially for the motorcyclists; they prefer to weave in and out between cars and trucks whenever they find most appropriate for them, even if it's disadvantageous for the other people on the road.
            The horns here are used extremely well. When a taxi sees someone on the side of the street, the driver honks. When a car is going fast, the driver honks. When a car is going slow, the driver honks. There’s just a lot of honking in general. Although I was a bit confused at first, I think there may be some advantage to it. If the driver is speeding down the street and someone is trying to turn onto the same street from a side road, then the driver attempting to get onto the street will know that there is someone carelessly zooming down the street from the sound of his horn. There is also the friendly honk, which usually consists of two short beeps. The angry honks are loud, long, and, well, angry. The parking situation is a bit confusing as well. It is not unusual for a car to pull off randomly on the side of the road, drop someone off, then expect to be let back onto the road promptly. This also includes our massive tour bus!
            Overall, there is implied a sense of order that one can only understand by growing up here and learning to drive here too. This includes knowing that you don’t have to stop at stop signs, even though they use the politer verb conjugation. (The conjugation for means “you,” but this “you” is informal; you can use the conjugation during conversation with one of your friends. Interestingly enough, they use the usted conjugation for stop signs, which denotes a more formal relationship. They still don’t stop, though.)
            It is important to note that I have never felt unsafe while driving in Lima. Yes, it is chaotic, but there is a true method to the madness here. You know that one driver in the States that is reckless yet still technically follows about 80% of the rules of the road? Lima is full of those people, only Peruvian.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.