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Ecuador driving and photos

ECUADOR | Tuesday, 4 September 2007 | Views [465]

For a play by play with photos from this last weekend, go to http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2277880&l=47f8d&id=8628451

And for more Ecuador observations, I turn to the driving system. Like any large city, Quito is a crazy mess of cars and buses zig zagging in and out of traffic. Nothing new there. But I've noticed that the highways bring out a more interesting manner of driving. Highways, in the mountains for the most part, cling to the mountain sides, allowing you can peek out your window and look straight down a steep precipice. These highways are a wide enough to fit three vehicles, but, alas, the road is only divided in two. What to do?

Well what the Ecuadorians have seemed to figure out is that you sort of play a game of chicken. If you see somebody behind you is on your tail, you shift to the right of your 1 1/2 sized lane, allowing the person behind you to pass. The passer then has to speed up and zoom down the road, straddling the center line, while oncoming traffic has to also notice that a car is coming down the middle of the road and consequently shift a little to their right. This seems to be an understood system because, for the most part, there isn't any excessive honking that accompanies this operation and people do it all the time. It's a bit unnerving when you aren't used to it, and even more so if you're sitting in front. I speak from experience.

It was also interesting that on the way back from Otavalo, we picked up 3 people from the roadside who consequently had to stand in the aisle of the already full bus. When we got to the tolls that the police patrol, the ayudante (bus money collecter/helper dude) told the three to duck down or sit in the aisle as it is illegal to have people standing in the urban buses. They got down, but the police ended up coming on anyway to take a look down the aisle, and there the three were, huddled on the ground. The ayudante paid the police officer off and we were on our way. So is the police corruption here in this country. At orientation they mentioned that is faster for the pizza man to get to where you need them than for the police to get there because if the pizza place doesn't deliver in 30 minutes, your pizza is free. My family confirmed.

I better get going now, but I'm already looking at some adventurous something to do this weekend. I hope all are well and smiling!



Tags: Culture

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