Driving around the world

Our holidays are mostly family holidays. So, there’s me, the better half and two kids. At times we are accompanied by other family members, an uncle here or an aunt there or in-laws or my mum or sister; you get the idea. don’t you 🙂 My husband and I love to drive. But essentially, we drive to holiday and not the other way round. That said, we want to one day drive all the way to Delhi from Bangalore 🙂

We like to have a car because:
1) We are so many people!
2) We have the flexibility to start and stop wherever and whenever we wish. With smaller kids this comes in handy for all those susu breaks, diaper change breaks, i want to eat now breaks, can we take a pic of this view breaks….
3) You can carry a LOT more than if you took a bus or train. So we have been accompanied by cricket bats and balls, blankets, neck pillows, lots of water, newspapers bought at the toll gates, electronics (phone chargers, GoPros and its various stands, laptops , huh!), veggies and fruits bought on the highway….the list is endless! (But no food, somehow we never ever carry ‘time-pass eats’).
4) At times, it can be cheaper to drive around than be conned by a taxi driver.

Within India, we have driven to multi-destinations over a few days, stopping at each destination for a couple of nights. But we usually drive to destinations that we can reach on the same day. So our longest non-stop, start-in-the-morning, reach-destination-in-the-evening drive has been from Mumbai to Bangalore. We normally leave early in the morning (5.30am is our sacred time) and never ever drive after dark. Thanks to the Golden Quadrilateral Highway, it is possible to drive smooth and safe and cover many more miles than before. Have you noticed, how the driving style changes from place to place? Even on chunks of the highway, the way one overtakes, the speed of the vehicles, the extent to which rules are followed, the non-scientific killer speed bumps or speed breakers created by the locals at village limits, everything changes.

This change is even more evident when you drive in a different country. Within a country, every place has a driving behaviour that is slightly different from each other.

Among the countries that we have driven in, we found the local (non-expat) drivers of UAE most aggressive. They have no tolerance and express rage easily. In Greece, the driving on the mainland is a pleasure. We found crazy drivers on Crete. They are rash, overtake from the wrong side and have no qualms about driving with two wheels in the slow lane and two in the shoulder! They happily take a pee-break on the highway, just like us Indians! Spain was fine until we got to Madrid. Madrilenos vroom vroom faster than is required and pick up a fight and curse the cop that stops them when they flout the rules! The two-wheeler ‘menace’ in Bali, Indonesia is no menace at all for the Indian driver! To a large extent they drive by the rule book. Jumping the red traffic light is pretty common though, both within the city and on the highway. Bali has these funny right-of-way rules for T-junctions that have a small roundabout. You would typically think that you need to go around the roundabout when you want to drive from the arms of the T to the stem of the T or from the stem to either arm. In Bali, you don’t. You simply slide toward the front of the roundabout momentarily mingling and dodging oncoming traffic and then getting into your lane. Driving in Germany was the best experience. Nothing to complain or crib or comment about! ‘Friendly’ drivers of oncoming traffic flash their lights to warn you of checks by cops enroute. So do people in Spain. But I hear its against the rules but they did it nevertheless!

So, what is your mode of transport when you travel? Do you use public transport or only fly or rent a car or ??? Share your thoughts and views. Look forward to your comments!

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Note: Indians need an International Driving Permit and a valid Indian Driver’s License to drive in a foreign country. This can be obtained from the RTO or the Indian Automobile Association offers this service to its members. 

2 comments

  1. […] ‘big’ car. This inspired some of my lady friends to learn to drive. By now we were clocking miles on our holidays in India and overseas and I was driving long distance solo with my kids in tow, sometimes with the better half and […]

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