11 July 2012

Driving and Cars

I'm feeling pretty good driving on the left...luckily I have an Automatic car, which is not too common.  Manuals get better gas mileage (kilometrage?) so they are more popular.  The cars are mostly smaller and more fuel efficient, but there are plenty of SUVs and full size cars.  There are some American cars, but European and Japanese cars are definitely the most popular.

There are speed limits, but they don't seem to have much to do with how fast people drive.  The driving style is a bit aggressive and they love to pass whenever and wherever if you aren't going the speed they want to go.

Taxis here are really large 16-passenger vans that race all over everywhere, carrying lots of people.  They drive extremely fast and swerve in and out of traffic, trying to find another fare to pick up, honking at every single pedestrian they pass during their traveling.  There's not a lot of public transit here, so there are a lot of these white vans cris-crossing the city.  Evidently stickers are expensive to print, as the popular association of taxis in this area only has enough room to print "Menlyn Taxi Ass" on theirs, appropriately located on the backside of the vans, easily visible as they cut you off at each intersection...

Gas prices here are controlled by the government, and only change on the first Wednesday of each month.    The "low" grade of gasoline here is 93 octane, which is premium gas in the states; they sell even higher grades than what we have as well, and there are plenty of Diesel cars, too.  There are only 2 gas prices in the entire country: one price for the coast (a little cheaper, since the tankers from the Middle East unload there), and one price for the "reef", or interior (a little pricier).  When I arrived, gas was the equivalent of $5.28 a gallon, but on the 4th of July, the price reset to $4.87 a gallon, so I'm glad to have a smaller car!  Everything is full service, and they wash your windows, check your tires, and even asked if I wanted them to check under the hood.