My posting has been nonexistent since our return from a prolonged trip from Singapore to Dubai. Most of our time was spent in India. I was for a time emotionally and intellectually spent. What a wonderful and ancient place India is. I lacked sufficient appreciation before our visit for its complexity and heterogeneity.
I will for now limit my comments about the trip to driving. Imagine driving among 1.3 billion people. Well, that’s India. It is the most chaotic, crazy traffic I have ever witnessed. Rome, Athens, and Beijing do not compare, believe me. The traffic in Gillespie County is mild by any comparison. We complain if we have to sit through one of its few stoplights.
Let me contrast driving in India to Gillespie County. First off folks in our county are rule followers. They do not stray across the center yellow stripe or change lanes without signaling. They are mindful of traffic signs. In India, best I can determine, the yellow lines are something to be ignored. No one pays any attention to them. Even the stop signs are largely ignored.
The traffic in India moves like a school of fish. It is an amazing process to witness. The “school” of cars, buses, pedicabs, and motorbikes move in harmony to the left or right. It allows for maximal passage of traffic and maximal gastric acidity.
In Gillespie County most horns on vehicles have not been used in years. It is down right rude to honk at another driver even for doing something really stupid. In India by contrast the horn is in constant use. I dare say the horn would take priority over at least one or two of the gears and maybe even a tire. It is illegal there to overtake without giving a toot on the horn. Needless to say, with all that traffic, driving in India is a cacophony of sound.
In one strange way driving is similar in Gillespie County and India. Cattle roam the streets of India and are considered sacred. Cattle in places also roam across the county roads in Gillespie County although not considered sacred. Gillespie County is considered an “Open Range County” which means that cattle have the right-of-way- you hit one and you pay for it. Cattle on the rural roads are only slightly less dangerous than deer.
I prefer driving in Gillespie County. Among other reasons, I can drive my full-sized pickup that would be an exceptionally large vehicle in India. Another reason is the constant vigilance required with the number of vehicles in India that constantly pass and swerve. The driver of our minivan certainly, in my eyes, earned his fee.