Tuesday, October 7, 2008
CRAZY ROME DRIVERS
We had heard that Rome's traffic was fast and chaotic. We experienced it firsthand when we drove from Montepulciano to the drop off center for Avis near the train terminal. People in cars here find a way of moving into that tight little spot that allows them to get to where they are going. I was told by several people you DON'T drive in Rome. But I really enjoyed the experience. Rome, and Europe in general, seem to have less restrictive rules than America. At home, you stay (generally) close to the speed limit and stay in your lane. Here there are no lines on the road so Rome's small cars can be three wide with inches between them. They seem to be comfortable with this small “inches” cushion. We at home like several feet.
And the scooters. Many, many, many speed by at 40-50 mph. Some look like small ninja bikes, some like bicycles with motors. Siena and I would bring to each other's attention how cool that one particular scooter was and plan which one we will get when we get back to the States. My experience with scooters and mini-bikes has usually been of the accidents I have been in so purchasing a scooter is probably wishful thinking. But they are just soooo cool!!!!
Avocet and I went out one night to pick up pizza. We stood at the crosswalk looking to see when we could cross. Cars whizzed by. The scene was loud and frenetic. We ran across hand in hand as fast as we could to avoid being the victims of Rome's intense traffic. At the “don't walk” signal we would watch the cars come screeching to a halt at the light with scooters passing in the gaps to get to the front. These scooters are driven by businessmen with suits, old grizzled men (and women) and fashionably dressed young Romans. All vying for the pole position. The light changes and they all speed trying to be first. WOW!!!! Great energy. Excitement. Av and I got our pizza and headed back. While crossing the now dark street, I heard, and felt, the wind of a scooter whizz by me at high speed about six inches behind my butt. Maybe we should head to Africa where it is safe.