Tuesday, December 6, 2011

an example of what it is like to drive here

The other day I was returning home from the store, and I had a driving experience that is very common.  I want to start out by saying that I'm not amazed by the kind of bad driving that I encountered, but by the fact that it didn't phase me.  I didn't honk.  I didn't get mad.  I didn't yell, or even talk to myself.  There is a kind of dance, an elaborate choreography that goes on in the streets of Belo Horizonte, and I think that I've finally joined in.  In a way, it's kind of beautiful.  It is quite amazing there aren't more accidents, but if you consider the movements (and don't think about the size and weight of the participants), it's almost artistic.  Let me illustrate:
There are actually more streets at the intersection (gotta love the 7 way intersections), but my drawing abilities are not so keen.  So I'm keeping it simple. 

Now, here are three cars stopped at the stop light at the intersection.  The blue oval in the middle is me, in my Fusca (VW Bug).  
We're sitting at the light, and here's what everyone is thinking about doing:

You see the problem.  I tried to recreate this on a video with my children to post, but my children kept crashing their Hot Wheels cars and cracking up.  But in real life, it is something to behold.

The light changes to green, and then the beauty starts.  The yellow van in the far left lane decides to make a right turn onto the Contorno (in front of me).  But at the same time, the light blue truck is making a left turn from the far right lane.  But light blue truck has already anticipated this, and starting driving before the light turned green. 
I'm pretty proud of my driving abilities.  But I'm a little nervous for our trip to the US.  We're leaving in 2 weeks for a 7 week visit, which will involve plenty of driving.  I'll just have to remember how to drive like an American, and be a little less aggressive.


  1. HHAHAHA I love the illustration!

    Well I better get used to this....but anyway here in the NY Metropolitan Region people drive like nuts so maybe it won't be that much of an adjustment! I can hope!


  2. I love your illistration - and yes it happens all the time. to add some fun you have to imagine the bicyclist coming from the wrong direction, maybe a dog crossing the street or the recycle man with his push cart. a student driver is always fun stalling as he/she changes gears in the intersection.... today there was a double parked car on both side of the street so I had to go out into the middle to go between them both, a car is coming at me and WHIZZZZ a bicycle goes between me and the parked car - where did he come from.... and yes I used a bad word but I don't have little ones in my car so I can.....

  3. Great little illustrations! Way to go on not getting in an accident... I am not sure I would have been able to come out with the same result :P