Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Someone, Please Pimp Our Ride!

Ahhh, buying a car on St. Kitts. Such an adventure....such a nightmare. The cars found here on the island are an interesting bunch. Most are basically junk. They are bought and sold year after year, by student after student. Some are covered top to bottom in rust. Some have cracked windshields, dings, dents and scratches. Some are missing mirrors, seatbelts, windows, bumpers...one was even missing a roof. So when we found one that looked normal and ran okay, we bought it. A 1996 Toyota Corolla station wagon. Turns out, we really could have gotten something better for the price we paid. Our friend Kheli just bought a sweet ride last week, 10 times nicer than our car....for the same price we paid! Oh well, every semester there are students coming and going, and new cars being bought and sold. I'm sure we'll have plenty of other cars to choose from in a few months.
And speaking of driving, getting a drivers license here is interesting as well. On St. Kitts, the cars have the steering wheel on the right side, and they drive on the left side of the road. You would think that they would want to make sure you know what you are doing before giving you a license. Not exactly. Show up at the fire station (pictured below), pay $48, and you're a licensed driver!

So not only do you need to adjust to driving on the other side of the road, but there are many other things to look out for here as well:

1. Cars stopped in the middle of the road - people will just stop or pull over anywhere at anytime...no flashers on, no blinker, sometimes no brake lights.

2. Potholes and dirt roads - the roads aren't exactly taken care of here. After it rains, big puddles in the road usually equal giant hidden potholes. And to get to most beaches, you practically have to go off-roading down crazy dirt paths.

And finally,
3. Random animals in the road - cows, pigs, goats, birds, turtles, dogs, mongoose, monkeys...any of these can be in the road at any time

Okay, okay, so this picture doesn't show a cow in the road, but it was right next to it...sorry, that's all I've got for now. I promise more "wildlife in the road" pictures in the future.

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