Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012 - The Third Lane

This blog could alternately be titled "More Adventures in Driving".

Yesterday I ventured off the little peninsula we live on to find a "big" mall where I can stock up on some things at a lower price (like diapers and wipes...because our year's supply from the US is still sitting in our container, on the boat, off the port, etc.).  It was my first time driving there by myself and, I have to admit, I still have a bit of a "glowy" feel that I can do something like drive to the mall by know, after four years of being chauffered by Kristoffer or Charles.  So I popped in one of my favorite CDs from college and sang at the top of my lungs all the way to the mall.  It has been a long and tiring week (remember...we've got rats in the attic - now in the kitchen too! - and kids-who-wake-up-90-minutes-before-the-sun and Kristoffer doesn't get home until tonight) and this was very cathartic.

When driving from our house to the mall, there is really one main road with one very peculiar feature.  It has 3 lanes.  The two outer lanes are obvious - I was in the left lane going one way and the far lane to my right had cars going in the other direction.  But the middle lane. is just anyone's guess!  So while driving here is great compared to Nairobi because people actually follow traffic rules and even some traffic lights and matatus don't even exist...when it comes to this one lane, it feels very Kenyan.  Sometimes people going my way were driving in that lane.  Then they would notice a car coming towards them quickly in the very same lane and would swerve over to cut me off before getting smashed.  Other times it was used as a "turning" lane.  Still other times (note: I was only on the road for about 12 minutes) the lane was definitely for cars driving in the other direction.  I couldn't see any signs about how to use the middle lane.  Every now and then there would be an arrow painted on the road to show what direction traffic should be going in...but since the cars in that spot were heading in the opposite direction of the arrow, I didn't think it carried a lot of authority.

As for me, I just absolutely positively stayed the heck out of that middle lane. Best to altogether avoid a situation where I unknowingly break the law and have to keep policemen from getting into my car (although at least this time I have diplomatic license plates AND a Tanzanian driver's license).  


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