I rant you risten

Monday, November 29, 2004

Riding Around in my Automobile..

Growing up in Bahrain, you used to joke and say that you could get to anywhere on the island in less than 15 minutes… Over the years, the country has morphed into a concrete jungle, the numbers of cars on the road have increased considerably, and people’s driving skills have gotten much worse. The 15-minute car ride can now take up to an hour, with your road rage on full blast… There are a lot of issues you need to deal with when driving in Bahrain, and I think I’m entitled to gripe a bit…

Bahrain’s a small place… we’ve got a population of a little over half a mil, however, everyone lives in the top half of the island making it a very densely populated area. With no proper public transportation system yet (well except buses: but that’s just more cars on the road), everyone’s forced to drive. Ok so that’s not a big deal.. but then the weekend comes along, and we have company… our neighbors from the nearby GCC states, drive across their borders for a little R&R (recklessness and rampage) on our soil… now I know tourism is important to our Economy, but apart from the additional traffic we also get to enjoy the driving skills of our “neighbors”. Saudis for example, have very interesting driving methods; Instead of taking the left lane and indicating left to turn left; they would probably, be in the right lane planning to turn left and eventually busting a U turn on you, forcing you to slam your breaks… In Saudi, drivers are aware of this law of “possible turns” and plan accordingly; unfortunately many accidents have occurred because of not taking into consideration the moron driving next to you… Overtaking from any lane is fine as long as you’re going much faster than the other person, as is flashing the guy ahead of you creating that disco strobe effect, because 125km per hour on a 100km road isn’t fast enough for your formula one taste… Bahrain’s smaller than most major world cities, who on earth needs to be clocking ludicrous speeds (not ludicrous speed?!! mel brooks plug)..

I’m convinced that due to the driving skills of our neighbors, that the local driving here has also become appalling… the common consensus is that anything to avoid a little traffic is fair game… You can get stuck in a jam and then have some bozo in his little shitbox or gas guzzler riding in the breakdown lane/ elevated sidewalk only to cut into traffic, 209 cars ahead… It’s assholes like these that slow down traffic and make it ok for everyone to break the law… The traffic police have started to crack down on these offenders, but it’s not enough, these punks need to be humiliated and ridiculed… I always honk my horn in approval and clap when these chumps are pulled over, occasionally giving them the one finger salute… Anyone who’s taken the highway at the Seef Mall towards Manama knows what I’m talking about… this is an offence of the law where the death penalty could come in useful… Fry a couple of these punks and see how people follow the law...

Since I’m on a roll, let me tell you about another issue I have a problem with… Just recently, the law has granted permission for veiled woman to drive… I don’t mean veiled women who’ve covered their heads, I mean women who are also wearing the face covering with two “ninja-like” eye slits… Now listen, I know religious fervor has struck this planet and everyone’s found some sort of spiritual sense of belonging – good for you… But this is a democracy and last time I checked I was allowed to have an opinion… In my personal opinion, I feel that veiled women are unsafe drivers.. I think anyone who covers their face leaving a little slit for their eyes are an added risk to themselves, other drivers and pedestrians… I rely on my peripheral vision to deal with the constant insanity on the roads, how can this lady have a clear line of sight? This is just dangerous, I mean what if the burqa slips, or she’s taking a turn and her line of sight is completely blocked by a piece of black material? oh and get this, if this lady who’s completely covered up gets pulled over, then a male police officer cannot stop her, they have to call in for backup and have a female officer give the offender a ticket… So what’s to stop me from getting up in Bahraini drag, throwing an abaya and a burqa to cover my face, go speeding all over the place and not get pulled over by a male cop? I know this is a little far fetched, but I don’t see why it’s not possible. Or how about this, can you imagine being a covered lady and getting pulled over for speeding? You’re already late for work, and now you have to wait an additional 20-30 minutes till a female officer can make it to where you are and make sure your face matches the covered face on your driver’s license? Sounds like a hassle if you ask me... Like I said, this is just my opinion and I’m allowed to have it… this law has helped a lot of people in Bahrain, but it just doesn’t make sense to me – I’m just voicing my issues with it…

Here’s one of my personal favorites… Bahraini’s like to take walks. They especially like taking walks on poorly lit streets, while wearing the darkest most unreflective (is that even a word?) clothing… The women in my neighborhood like to wear their abayas and walk around at night, on the side of the road, but sometimes they choose to walk directly on the road because they don’t want to get their shoes dirty… now I understand people’s need to remain fit, and I can also empathize with not wanting to get your shoes dirty, but wearing something reflective is just common sense… It’s dark, people like to walk, and people speed here, so wouldn’t you want to at least wear something that will alert other drivers that there is someone walking along the side of the road, oh and by the way please don’t kill me? Just a suggestion… Next time you’re driving at night, take a look around for all the lone walkers, and then think of how much easier your life would be if they were wearing just a little something reflective to make sure they don’t get run over by anyone…
And to the punk that raced me on the way to work, almost killed the driver of the pickup truck to cut me off because I gave him the finger: you’re a bastard…

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Anyone who’s taken the highway at the Seef Mall towards Manama knows what I’m talking about… this is an offence of the law where the death penalty could come in useful… Fry a couple of these punks and see how people follow the law..."

You have hit the nail square on the head. Not just in Bahrain mind you..O no.. Boston as well. Some public floggings, head chopping, arm removal etc would do WONDERS for the traffic problems. A little FEAR is a good thing now and then..

Anonymous said...

for your Spaceballs craving:
Buckle up Sir!
Aaahhh buckle this!
:) - Seroo

Bahrania said...

http://bahraniat.blogspot.com/2004/11/live-and-let-live.html

Desert Island Boy said...

http://desertislandboy.blogs.com/home/2004/11/brown_knuckle_d.html

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