Wing mirror options
It took me eleven attempts to pass my driving test, yes 11. Now for some of you reading this you may be thinking that is not something I should be admitting to. However in my world (think alternative universe) it was quite possibly one of my proudest moments. Never mind my wedding, kids, degree or the fact that I can get ready for a night out in 5 minutes flat, passing my test was momentous in that it showed a dogged determination to stick with something so alien and difficult purely because I had to. I simply needed to be able to drive. Then I moved to Cairo!
We have a car and a driver (yes very expat) and he works when we need him, but what if I fancy nipping out for a pint of milk (too far to walk) or mother of all disasters I run out of cigarettes…..well stuff that I’m going to drive obviously.
In Cairo they drive on the right, (theoretically) at home on the left. We have an automatic here, a manual at home. The BIG motorway at home to Belfast has 2 lanes, the ring road strictly speaking has 4 lanes, or 7 at a squeeze on a busy day, easy peasy then no worries.
Well, I started on a Friday, very little traffic and drove only where I knew the route, I still panic at home if I don’t know where I’m going, so no point making life difficult. I continued to drive only on Fridays for the next couple of weeks gradually increasing the distances, then on to the school run, and now I nip about wherever I fancy. A couple of years later and I find the driving here strangely liberating. Let me explain!!
I always used to worry at home about being in the wrong lane…..I lived in Craigavon affectionately known as roundabout city, not so affectionately known as …well i digress….but here not only is everyone in the wrong lane but mostly there are no lanes, perfect for me.
I failed my test a couple of times for not using my mirrors and other minor details but here the double toot that allows you to know someone is behind saves me any bother with mirrors and the like. Those wing mirrors are irrelevant , just look at the black and white taxis, do you think they are manufactured without wing mirrors or is it personal choice?
There is a much more sensible attitude here towards roadworks. If it needs done just do it never mind the miles of cones, multiple signs, twirlly traffic lights (that’s a whole other subject) and diversions, here everyone just squeezes past as best they can, or if you are really stuck a quick u-turn generally sorts it. No one minds what you get up to, so no pressure means I can potter around without fear of fines, points on my license or other stressful distractions, very liberating.
However, there is one draw back to Cairo, the pedestrians here are awesome. I admire them greatly as the absence of footpaths, underpasses and bridges means they take their lives in their hands on a daily basis. However, some of them really wind me up especially the slow shufflers. I don’t mind if they are elderly or infirm, Cairo is hard work for them, it’s the teenage aimless shufflers who really get me. I have become quite adept at gently nudging them out of the way with my wing mirror ( the real reason you need them) accidentally of course. I would never condone the use of wing mirrors as weapons against pedestrians…but yes the bump you hear is the lady in maroon ACCIDENTALLY coming into contact with our wing mirror.