December 27, 2008

"Driving" in Manta

Definitions: Manta's Road System

Side "walks". Rephrased: Side "trips, splats, ankle rolls, government liabilities." It is not possible to hold a conversation uninterrupted while walking down the street - I am constantly steering a friend away from a sinkhole or otherwise random and quite dangerous obstacle.

Traffic Laws. Redefined: Traffic Lawlessness. There are often no lines painted in the road. People weave, drive down the middle, and brake without notice. They use a blinker when they feel like it, flip a U-turn whenever, and generally are hazardous. There are round-abouts. They pull into oncoming traffic on freeways and move over in just the knick of time. However - I've not seen an accident in the seven weeks I've been in Manta. Everyone is quite conscious of one another. Which makes all the difference.

Roads. Redefined: Cement areas with holes. And bumps. And more holes. And sometimes with a 4' pile of rubble in the middle of the road.

Drivers' Education. Redefined: Suicidal intent. I cringe when I see these kids trying to survive in the crazy streets.

Public Transport. Rephrased: Riding in the back of a camioneta (truck) heading around big curves at 50 mph. Around and over those holes. No seat belt. I LOVE it! Wind in your hair. And you get a workout from trying to hold onto the truck! All for $1! Really, I do love it. I take the camioneta between Linda's beach house and her house in Manta. We take these corners on the hills and can see the gorgeous blue sea as it twinkles in the sun. (repeat) I love it.

Right-of-way. Redefined: Pedestrians are in-the-way. Cars first. People second. It's like playing the video game Frogger. You sort of learn how to predict which car will move where and how fast.
Don't try and cross the street near the round-abouts. It is simply not possible to predict the cars. Don't be stupid! :)


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Sounds kind of like Salem. Well, maybe not. Miss ya. -Bo-

  3. LOL the city itself is like Salem - But the streets are straight out of Lonely Planet: South America :)

  4. At least it's not in Korea (think it's Korea)...they have a law that states the only person that can sue you if you get hurt, is the victim and you go to prison for it! So what do you think drivers do after they hit you accidently? They back up and run over you again to make sure you're dead so you can't sue!! LOL
    Something to make you laugh :D
    -Kat Seney (miss ya!)