My morning began as most of them begin for me … get the kids out the door for school, then I drop Trent off at the office. When I say this, it sounds pretty simple, I just take him to work, right? Well, it’s not simple by any way. He office isn’t that far from our condo, but the traffic is so terrible here that it takes forever to get there and back. A good hour and a half to get there and back. Gauging by the distance, back home in Hudson Wisconsin, this would take about 30 minutes. So yes, it’s a huge pain.
But we are a one car household now, and so in order to get my errands (chores!) done, I need the car. Trent could take a taxi to work, but it would cost nearly $50 sing dollars per day. So I drive him.
Friday the 13th began as any other day for me … I dropped Trent off at his office. On the way home, I was listening to the radio and they were chattering about how more women get into car accidents on this day than any other, mostly because they are superstitious and nervous. I thought, “still stupid women”. Huh!
That was when I jinxed myself.
A few hours later, I was indeed sitting in my car, shocked and stunned, because I smashed out the back & side windows of my van. Here is a picture of the back window, taken from the inside of the car. Yikes!
And here is what I backed up into:
I’m not sure what that is exactly, but I can understand why my back up sensors on the van didn’t “see” this. Regardless, this little accident scared the daylights out of me …I had no idea that a shattering window or two could make so much noise!!
So … back to traffic in Singapore!! Yes, here we drive on what I call “the wrong side of the car” from “the wrong side of the road”. British style. The knobs and dohickies inside the car are all backwards too. For the first week, every time I went to turn on my turn signal, my windshield wipers would go instead. I finally got that all sorted out, and as long as I am not first at a red light, I am all good. If I am first, and I am making a turn, then I really have to think hard about which way I am to turn.
The traffic here is insane. Add to the confusion of driving british style, I have also had to get used to the crazy Malaysian motorcyclists. They come into Sing each morning to work via a bridge, and at the end of their long workshifts, they drive back to their country. I don’t blame them on bit for being in a hurry to get home. I would be too. But, their driving skills are truly frightening. They weave in and out of traffic, and ride the middle line, and Lord have mercy, if you are changing lanes, you really need to check over and over and then one more time in your rear-view mirrors to be sure there isn’t one of these speed-demon risk-taking motorcycling Malaysians coming up from behind.
The taxi drivers here are crazy too, and there seems to be thousands of them. They are aggressive, pushy, and rude, and they will not hesitate to cut you off, beep their horns, or anything they can think of to intimidate other drivers. Yes, I fear taxi drivers.
Local drivers are crazy too. They have no choice but to be aggressive with their driving skills. I learned this the hard way a few weeks back. I dropped the boys at swim practice, and thought I would zip up the road to a book store to pick up a map of Sing. Sounds easy, right? Well, you haven’t heard of Newton Circus.
It’s basically the meanest round-a-bout EVER. Seven exits. Count em. Seven. Four+ lanes of highway, AND it’s counter-clockwise. I was basically stuck on the Newton Circus roundabout for a good hour. Yup. I’d get on, miss my exit, go around again. Get pushed inside of a lane or two by aggressive drivers, taxi drivers, and Malaysian motorcycle men, then not make it back to the outside edge by my exit. Around I go again. I’m tellin ya, I was dizzy by the time I managed to find my off the thing.
So anyhow, my van has already been repaired ( i know! it only took TWO days! ) and while there is no sign of the damage I caused to the van that day, there is still loads of personality going on with that vehicle. I have a nice scrape on the front bumper, plus a large dent by the side door. The kids think I should have it all repaired, but I think that all the damage on my van is a nice warning to the other drivers … I’m not afraid to bump a little bit, so look out!
Ha ha. Your are cracking me up. I forgot about how frustrating all the driving in Singapore was. The “Newton Circus” sounds fun but it is a nightmare! going around and around trying to exit without hitting a motorcycle driving in between the lanes! CRAZY! Try getting around with out GPS. I would get lost for hours! At least it was an Island – I could only go so far. Hang in there!
Some of your story reminds me of how I felt when I first moved out here to Cali. I use to sit in bumper to bumper traffic, and watch my boyfriend who would leave much later than me ride by (in between the lanes) and blow me a kiss, lol. I use to be afraid to even drive to the grocery store because there is so much traffic here. Now, I fit in just like the rest of these crazy drivers out here. Oh…when it rains lord forbid…I try to still push aside things I need to do. Not because I don’t know how to drive in the rain, but because these crazy people like to drive the same as they do when it’s 90 degrees with the sun shining. Glad to hear you are getting familiar with everything over there. By the time you come back home you will be able to teach classes to the new american’s arriving over there, lol.
I like the idea of not getting the van repaired. You just tell people back in the U.S. we call those bumper cars- Look out, Laura is on the loose in Singapore!