Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sicilian Driving Experiences

Having been here for five and a half years, I thought I had seen it all as far as driving in Sicily. In fact, I wrote about it way back in October of 2004. Just last week, though, I was on my way to work and thought I would be clever and take a shortcut. Instead, I got stuck behind a garbage truck that was stopping at every dumpster on the one-way, narrow street we were on. A long line of cars quickly formed behind me. There was nothing to do but wait. At the third stop for trash, the truck was unable to move forward because someone had parked halfway into the road (no surprise here). Undaunted, the two trashmen ran up front and picked up the little car and just moved it so the garbage truck could get through! And these were not big garbage men, or young ones! Obviously, they were used to this.

I drive fairly fearlessly most of the time, but sometimes even I am amazed. The three craziest instances of driving in Sicily have all happened in the past six months:

1) The guy ahead of me wanted to pass the guy ahead of him, so he went the wrong way around a traffic circle to do so!

2) On a two-way busy highway, the car in front of me could not wait for the smaller car in front of him to pass a truck, so when smaller car pulled out and floored it, this guy went onto the left shoulder and passed them both at once!

3) Very recently, on my way to work on the autostrada (divided highway), the traffic began to get heavy and slow down a bit, so one hot-rodder goes onto the right shoulder and speeds up to pass everyone, right through an on-ramp with cars merging onto our road! Mamma mia!!

I pray I can get my car and me out of Sicily unharmed in the next five months.