September 5, 2007

Driving

After a week of riding shotgun, I have begun driving myself around Mthatha this week and dealing with all the challenges that brings. So far, I think, so good.

South Africans drive on the “wrong” side of the road and while I still occasionally head to the left side of the car to drive, I am more or less adjusting to this difference. Of course, it helps immensely to have a passenger who will start screaming in terror when I forget where I am and revert to the right side of the road.

I also re-learning how to drive a stick shift car. On a theoretical level, I know how to drive stick but on a practical level, I am quite a bit rusty. Fortunately, the car has a forgiving clutch and I haven’t stalled in the middle of any intersections yet.

The biggest challenge is what might be called the driving ethos is Mthatha, which can basically be summarized by saying “anything goes.” I have to drive right through downtown to get to Itipini and it is quite exciting and terrifying, particular as I try to remember to stay on the left, not stall, not hit any pedestrians, and get through intersections with frequently broken traffic lights.

2 comments:

June O'Douglas (aka Laura) said...

I think I could handle driving on the wrong side of the road, but I doubt I could drive a stick with my left hand... you must have mad driving skills.

Vickie said...

Yep, Jessie has some made driving skills. More than once on ambulace calls we would be screaming from the back "slow down Jessie". He is use to driving on the wrong side of the road and having people screaming in terror!