Driving in Liberia is a daily life and death experience.
(Mom, you might not want to read this one.) :-)
You know the line from Pirates of the Caribbean that says something like "the code is more like guidelines anyway?" That is how it is driving here. There are very few paved roads. Those that are paved have no lane markings or speed limits. There is road "construction" (more like de-construction) everywhere. They do not seem to have much of a plan for rerouting traffic, so often you end up in a four lane wide head on situation playing turkey down the middle of the road while being yelled at by construction workers, other drivers and random people walking along the road. The Liberian drivers seem to feel that the more cars you can squeeze into a small space travelling as fast as possible is the only way to go. Then there are the pedestrians. It is like Frogger. You never know when someone is going to jump out in front of you to race across the road. Oh, and the horns. You have to have an extra hand available at all times to announce your presence on the road. There are taxi's everywhere and they will stop anywhere, without warning or brake lights, to drop off or pick up a passenger. There are huge trucks filled to the brim with sand or construction equipment or coal or people. And the motorcycles are running the obstacle course around it all.
Add all of that to the fact that I have not driven a manual transmission in like 8 years (and all of our vehicles have one) and you might not be surprised to hear that I put off driving as long as possible. But this week I decided to give it a try. Well, Andrew made me. And. . .it really was not so bad. I mean yes, I get stares and "white woman driving" comments everywhere I go and a guy on a motorcycle ran into my side mirror the other day and I don't know how it is possible that I have not hit a person yet (I really hope that does not happen). Overall, I have a new found freedom. I went to a meeting the other day by myself, without a taxi. I can drive badly and no one knows. Who needs rules? It is liberating. I love it. Let me drive!
Watch out Liberia, here I come. . .in a car.