Friday, November 10, 2006

Tabasco Road

When you're doing 100kph in a taxi, you miss a stationary car by inches and you think it's a long way, you've probably been in Korea too long. From my experiences so far I'm beginning to settle into expecting one near miss every three minutes and I've learned to deal with it by simply suspending my sense of disbelief.

Even though I'm not as comfortable as the Koreans, I've also progressed to allowing cars to brush past me in the street at 10mph now without it making me jump, and I hope to advance this to 20mph in the coming weeks. I do worry though that when I return to the UK I need to avoid taking this habit with me because British drivers operate on the notion that any pedestrian in their proximity will ultimately - and sensibly - jump out of the way, and will plot their action accordingly. My experiences in Busan may lead to my surprising them - and not in a good way.

Despite the utter chaos that is the Korean road system - no observance of speed limits, lane discipline, cars driving through pedestrian crossings when the lights are red, a frequent absence of pavements, and motorcycles weaving around on what pavements exist - I've yet to witness an accident which seems statistically implausible. But every other car has scratches around its bumpers - and shops sell a line of hardened rubber bumper protectors which some people put on their cars. I guess that tells the truth of what's really going on.

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