Road experiences

On the road…

I have so many road stories. It seems like half my life right now exists on my bike. Between traveling for work and traveling after work to meet friends and go to capoeira class. I can go sometimes over 50 km a day, easily. The joy of having a bike sometimes fades away, especially with the way people drive. The idea of passing on the right side (because we’re opposite here) is somehow impossible, trucks that go really slow seem to slither in the right lane and refuse to budge, people honk even though there’s no where to go and there’s a red light 50 feet in front of you, cars and bikes will cut you off no matter if it gets them anyway, people pass all the time running into the opposite lane of traffic which force everyone to one side or make you feel like you’re going to crash into them. I could continue, really, with a much longer list, but I’d love to focus on one point.
When there is a traffic light, and when cars actually stop for the light (often times they ignore it) there is the tendency to go into the other lane of traffic while waiting. Why wouldn’t you, because you want to be in the front because no matter what time of day it is, you are always in a rush. I feel like the rush here is a zillion times worse than the rush in New York. Although they have tough competition with people running up and down stairs during rush hour in the subways. To get to my friend’s house you have to cross a railway crossing. This specific intersection is one of the worse bottlenecks. We were on the way to his place in his car on Sunday early evening and someone decided to cross into the opposite lane (our lane) in order to get where he was going. I felt a little embarrassed with my friend but then in hindsight, and I told him so, I felt very proud of what he did. He drove his car so that it made it slightly impossible for the guy to move. The guy tried to go but ended up hitting the metal gate divider and stopped. He then rolled down his window to tell my friend to move and my friend gave him a good yelling at. Why did he feel the need to go against traffic? There are many times where that same intersection is ten times worse and people don’t do that. Why did he? The guy ended up apologizing and my friend moved on, quite frustrated. Later this week in that same intersection, while coming from a center, I stopped because the train was coming by. Both sides of the railway track filled up as if each side was a one way street. It’s absolutely ridiculous.
I’m not 100% disenchanted from driving. I still really do love having my bike. Sometimes though, it gets a little overwhelming. I feel cool when I drive in the rain and I’m not getting wet. I love (even though I think it’s slightly unfair) that there’s a ladies line at the petrol pump. I love it that I got directions the other day in Hindi and I could follow them. I love driving with my scarf over my face and no one knowing that I’m a foreigner. I love wearing my helmet (for safety reasons) and getting the added bonus of a bug smacked onto the helmet, leaving a streak mark and feeling super happy that that wasn’t my face. I love it that I can take my capoeira instruments (my berimbaus) on my bike. I love it that I don’t have to walk in the rain, wait for a bus in the rain, get on a stinky bus with wet people in the rain or carry an umbrella.
As with everything, there are ups and downs. I think I’m somewhere in between right now. I’m also a little happier than last night because my stomach decided to hate me for a day, and today I was 90% better. Each time I get even a little sick I freak out thinking that my time has come to get really sick. It still hasn’t happened yet.

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