Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rally taxi driving

Ok, so this is a little late - i wrote this a couple of weeks back while still working in Yerevan.
I thought I was going to die. The majority of the day was enjoyable and passed without incident. But then we needed to go to a meeting and called a taxi. A silver lada turned up. I should have known that a lada painted silver and working for a company (aptly) named Rally would be bad.

We hurled through the streets of Yervan. Me clinging to the front seat and the door hold, bracing with my legs (they were splayed in a most unlady like manner) and maintaining an attention distracting one way dialogue with Vahe assessing the probabilities and the chances of survival (him: front seat, no belt = no chance, me: back seat, no belt but Vahe between me and the window = limited chance).

We took a wrong turn which meant that we effectively had a scenic tour of Yerevan, we drove up steep streets barely managing the make the corners and we drove down cobbled streets not slowing for anyone or any minor inconvenience like 2m deep holes dug into our side of the road.

As scary as it was (undertaking with millimeters to spare at intersections) he showed remarkable ability to approach hazardous situations at a million miles an hour and not crash.

Vahe asked the guy to slow down – twice – this is also a first – even Vahe was slightly shocked by his driving! But alas, our taxi driver seems to be genetically programmed to have a short life. I just hope that he doesn’t take too many people with him when it happens.

Oh yeah, I did an unofficial survey earlier in Yerevan. I counted 42 cars before seeing one person using a seatbelt. This is despite the fact that half of these cars had belts installed.

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