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I Don’t Always Drive in Kathmandu, But When I do…

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Traffic and driving in Kathmandu (and elsewhere in the country as well), is, among other things, a constant source of amusement as well as bewilderment! They could also drive you mad (excuse the pun)! They really could, that’s why I focus on the amusing side of it all to keep my sanity! 🙂

Creating and sharing “I don’t always drive in Kathmandu, but when I do…” memes featuring the former Most Interesting Man in the World is one of those efforts, reproduced here for your pleasure!

Enjoy!

There are no rules on the streets of Kathmandu. Driving down the wrong side of the road, to avoid a traffic jam, for instance, is normal!
But I do follow pretty much all traffic rules, having driven in countries where a majority of drivers and pedestrians do. That has also meant suffering the wrath of fellow drivers — they honk at me whenever I stop before a zebra crossing to allow pedestrians to cross safely, for example! Most drivers in Kathmandu don’t, and worse, honk at them to tell them to yield, making pedestrians suffer unnecessarily.

From around the end of the summer of 2007 to the beginning of the summer of 2011, when I was living abroad but returned to the country regularly for visits, I didn’t drive in Kathmandu at all. Most drivers on the streets of Kathmandu, and elsewhere, drive really really aggressively, NOT defensively, as one should.

That reflects the attitude — and behavior — of the most ubiquitous and reckless vehicles in the country. It’s normal to see motor-bikers zooming around — even on highways — with pillion riders, some little children, without a helmet. I actually don’t — and probably never will — drive a motorized two-wheeler in Kathmandu. 

This is something I imagine the World’s Most Interesting Man saying at the end of a fictional beer commercial, set in Kathmandu! 🙂

Most of the time, I use a horn the way I have used it in other countries I have driven in. Most other drivers, however, use it completely differently. For how horn rules the streets of the city and what horn rules are, click here. Drivers in Kathmandu also lay on their horns when in a traffic jam to unjam it, which I don’t do, of course!

For a people who see time as fluid and circular, instead of fixed and linear, and for a people who generally display a remarkable level of patience in most other contexts and situations, on the streets of Kathmandu, they are always in a hurry…to be late! I, on the other hand, always drive leisurely, taking my time, like I have nowhere I HAVE to be, and still make it to my destination on time…most of the time anyway!

To the driver in me, pedestrians are the most vulnerable on the streets, and so I pay the utmost attention to their needs and accommodate them. Most other drivers on the streets of Kathmandu, however, view pedestrians, even those ON a crosswalk (zebra crossing), as “competitors”!

Yes, I use hand gestures to communicate with fellow drivers in Kathmandu! I don’t ever remember giving the finger to one in Nepal though! I do sometimes use the Italian hand gesture of disapproval, mind you more out of frustration than to communicate with the other driver. Just as well that most Nepalese don’t understand it! 🙂

There you have it! As I create more, I’ll add them to this post. Be sure to check back!

What do you think?

 

 

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