Driving down here is one hell of a task.
I take pride in my skills behind the wheel – as inexperienced as you may think I am. Before you jump to any conclusions, though, try driving with these crazy taxi drivers on the small, unlit, and windy roads that take you through the mountains. Sometimes when you go around a sharp corner you will see a 40-wheel truck coming at you with the brightest lights that make you cross your fingers and hope you don’t end up in the gully 50ft below you.
Forget population control, this country needs to work on controlling how many people have cars, and how many of said people are literate enough to even be on the road. Sometimes I wonder why I do not bear witness to accidents on a regular basis. I guess that is why I have always said, “You have not driven until you have driven in Jamaica.” Some people should just stick to ten-toe-turbo.
From the moment you get behind the wheel, please be sure you have put down the blackberry or iPhone, put the radio on something that will play long enough for you to get where you are going, and that you are confident enough in your driving ability. If you are tired, and it is a long enough drive, do not do it; because for that one second you yawn, you quite possibly can hit some kind of animal or person, or God forbid you run into the back of the taxi that decided to stop randomly in front of you because someone stuck out their hand.
My point? You cannot take your eyes off the road for even a second. If not for the wild animals, or arrogant pedestrians who think they are invincible, maybe this driving thing would not be as bad. I am still proud of myself because I know many people who refuse to ever drive in Jamaica. I can’t say I blame them, but then again, I am always up for a challenge.
Last summer I was not half as successful driving my favourite car ever. (Not that I crashed or anything, but there were so many close calls that I feared for the well-being of The Beast.) I actually somewhat gave up in the middle of the summer holiday and decided to be chauffeured instead. It was not such a bad bargain considering I saved plenty of gas money, but I came back this time with a vengeance. I decided that I will not leave this place until I have mastered the streets, or at least got the hang of it.
I think I have reached my goal, but every now and then, I am reminded why I had to set that goal in the first place.