Thursday, March 8, 2007


Having no transport for 3 months meant I did daily battle with tuktuk drivers over price and speed. The other day, and I kid you not, I saw what I hoped was against the laws of physics for a tuktuk. A 3 wheeler had gone round a roundabout, hit the middle of the roundabout and went round the remainder of the roundabout on TWO wheels. The guy was leaning desperately, and hazardously, out of the vehicle (Dukes of Hazard style, yes I'm really that old) to bring it back down to earth..

It's funny, several people, when I voiced my fears, mainly for A and A, about moving here, said that something could happen to you or your children anywhere, "they are just as likely to get run over by a bus in the UK as in Sri Lanka". Knowing what I know now about Sri Lankan bus drivers, I think that highly unlikely.

It wound me up then and even more so now, when I think of the noxious fumes we breathe in every day riding tuktuks, the hazards of RIDING the tuktuks, lack of seatbelts, the very dangerous traffic that takes no notice of road rules or safety. There are even signs at traffic lights (not at all superfluous) pleading with you to "Obey the traffic lights". I have been driven the WRONG way up a main road into oncoming traffic because the driver couldn't get back across the road....The dirt and mosquitoes carrying disease that bite during the day and are very difficult to avoid, the unclean water.........I could go on.

Life is much more hazardous here in every way, as in most developing countries, and even more so for the majority of Sri Lankans who don't have the buffers of wealth and health to protect them. And now of course there is the war and terrorism. I often think of the UK and marvel at how incredibly SAFE a place to live it still is. Even with terrorism. I remember friends moving back home after 10 yrs overseas and their comment was how they loved their 'safe' house in 'safe England'. I understand that a lot more now.

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