Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On the Road in Anatolia

Driving in Anatolia

We swerve to miss a donkey cart in our lane and a swaying transport truck coming toward us. It is loaded twice as high as it is wide and rocks wildly in the ruts of the road.  There are no real lane markings left on the remaining pieces of asphalt and sometimes the two-lane road suddenly turns into five as jockeying transports, minibuses, handcarts, motorbikes, cars and horses dodge and weave.  No speed limit. No turn signal. No passing rules. Lots of horn honking.
We pick our way along a four-lane freeway that has been reduced to two heavily potted and crumbling lanes.  As I hold my breath, I realize that in the US we went from the horse to the Model T over a full generation.  The Turks went from donkey carts to Volvo Transports overnight and everyone is still sorting it out.  Since car ownership is the exception, there are still a lot of donkeys that must use the same road I am on.  However, the signage is great even if it is a bit overdone.

The original roadwork cleared the verges and runoff provides water for the emerging spring plants.  Shepherds and goatherds graze small flocks along the skirt of the road.  Many are no older than six or seven and some are elderly.  The ones in between, like teens everywhere, are on their cell phones.  It passes the time, as there is little shade other than cell phone towers and power poles.  It is also approaching 90 degrees and the humidity is 90 percent.

I think driving is a challenge, and then we enter the gridlock of the city with its medieval-sized streets….

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