Monday, November 16, 2009

Streets of Hyderabad

Inevitably if you travel in India you will spend a lot of time stuck in the traffic. It is not a bad thing if you are a tourist, as you get to observe the life happening around you.

As India used to be a British colony, the traffic moves on the left side of the road. Roads are in a pretty good condition (much better than in Kenya or Uganda) and traffic seems to stick to the side of the road on which it should be. Way more civilized than I expected it to be. Well, maybe except for honking. It seems that driving in India is all about honking. You honk your horn to signalize your existence and to inform others that you are determined to go where you plan to go and nothing will prevent you from achieving your goal (I've just found this nice explanation by an Indian guy about different types of honking. Thank you google.)

Now if you take into account how many people live in the big cities and how many cars there are on the streets, you can imagine that streets are extremely noisy. And polluted.

Other thing you need to know about driving in India is that to survive you need to be aggressive. There are many intersections without any lights on them and to be able to cross them, you need to force your way through. The same is true for any right-hand turn you want to take.

Also, cities are not friendly for pedestrians. There are virtually no sidewalks and in few places that they do exist, they are so narrow that not even two people would be able to walk on them next to each other. It is also very difficult for not motorized traffic to cross the street. Needless to say, there are no zebra crossings... I found it also extremely amusing that the existing sidewalks are elevated from the ground by around 50-60 cm... You can imagine the reason for that.

All that said, I still think that if I had to, I would be able to drive in India. But it would definitely cost me a lot of stress and many years of my life...

Cars, rickshas, and motorbikes coexist (more or less peacefully) on the roads:

How many people can you fit on one motorbike? (Also, notice the lack of helmets and the way women sit on the motorbikes):

An unusual sight, a woman driving a motorcycle:

The world seen from a ricksha:

In some rickshas there were 10-15 people!

Ganesha, remover of the obstacles, was making sure that our car passes through the streets safely: