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Sunday, February 27, 2011

And I Thought Traffic in Abu Dhabi was Bad......

I often complain about the bad drivers and daunting traffic in the UAE, but when I stumbled across these videos I realize I was just being a wimp. This is the real deal!

Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India. Not much density here but the way the large trucks, cars, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians interact is hypnotic to me. I watched this several times in awe at the cooperation between the different types of transport. Pure impromtu choreography without middle fingers or shakened fists displayed. Everyone just kept moving and dealt with it.

The two videos above are from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). The traffic is denser and almost takes on an organic look as if the mass of vehicles are the corpuscles of some large animal. Its almost as like each driver knows what the others are going to do through some understanding of universal unwritten rules. It is lawlessness and anarchy that somehow seems to work without too much bloodshed. I think it is an uniquely Asian thing. Could you imagine this chaos working in the Western world? I can't, we need our traffic lights, signs, cops and turn signals.

And finally Kathmandu, Nepal. I have experienced this personally during  a long weekend there. I hired a driver who deftly navigated the vehicular mayhem without a care in the world. He was in tune and did just fine.. I was in the back seat white-knuckling the grab handle above my head and getting sensory overload from the speed, congestion, horns, exhaust smells and the "coat of paint" proximity to our fellow motorists.

I am of the impression that these are not bad drivers, in fact I envy the skill demonstrated in such a hostile environment. I couldn't do it without a few dented fenders or spearing a moped. I would need a drink after (or before!) a few blocks at the wheel in these places.

On the other hand, some of the drivers in the UAE are just stupid. The roads are first-class here and there are more than a few that look at that as license to drive like maniacs just because they can. They tend to lack the concept of self preservation or responsibility to their potential innocent victims. One example of this is the red light runner captured on the video below, selfish bastard!

1 comment:

Chuck said...

My, this makes Houston traffic look positively serene. I'm glad I live close to work though.