Saturday, October 27, 2012
Driving in Lubango is like being in a video game. People, dogs, children dash out in front of you, cars swerve around pot holes the size of small cars and you need to be alert in case they happen to swerve TOWARD YOU while trying to avoid the crater. Motorcycles fly by you on both sides and weave in and out of traffic. Mini-bus taxis slam on the brakes and stop without warning to pick up new fares. You also need to constantly scan the road surface in case they've recently been digging up the asphalt to install new pipes, for example, and have left the hole as is, or haphazardly filled with a little loose sand. Did I already mention sink holes that randomly open up in the middle of the road? If you're lucky, there may be a huge pile of sand in front of them to keep your car from disappearing into one. If you're unlucky...well, let's just say I hope you have insurance. Most roads are one lane in each direction, but be aware that the space between those two lanes will be taken up by cars passing in either direction and they will be inches from your side view mirrors. Yes, this is driving in Lubango....and I LOVE it. Sure, you need to be on full alert all the time. But it's never boring. When was the last time you saw any of these things on a motorcycle: a man riding while sitting on top of two bags of cement that were balanced on the seat? a motorcycle passenger balancing three boxes on his lap while carrying several bags in each hand? Anyone on a motorcycle carrying multiple chickens? I bet you've never had the experience of watching what can only be described as a "tunnel on wheels" driving through the streets on your city with four men riding on top, whose job it is to use wooden sticks to lift up the power lines so the tunnel can pass underneath? Come on! How could you not love driving in this city?