Tag Archives: driving in a foreign country

Second Gear City

The car in front of me is crawling along at a snail’s pace; a particularly slow snail.

The driver is an elderly man wearing glasses who is more interested in what is happening out of the side windows of his car than what’s happening in front. Lots of cars here have small dents. It doesn’t take a genius to see why.
Concentration is not a strong point. I carried out a small experiment once, working out that it took, on average, five seconds before there was any movement when traffic lights changed from red to green.

They don’t do things quickly.

In this town it is difficult to get out of second gear.

That’s not because of traffic congestion or anything. The road in front of the car in front can be empty and the snail’s pace stays the same. These old guys are just not in a hurry to get anywhere.

You especially know you’re not going anywhere quickly when the car in front of you is an old Merc or a Berlingo. The drivers of these are the slowest of the slow. If they’ve got a chunky cigar clamped between their teeth then even second gear seems a speedy fantasy.

It drives me crazy when I need to be somewhere fast. But in truth it’s quite endearing; I’d rather live in a place where people drive too slow than too fast.

That won’t stop me shouting ‘why don’t you stick to riding a donkey’ next time I’m behind a tootling cigar chomper in a Merc though.