Four-Way Whats?

There are so many aspects of everyday life, taken for granted as routine at home, that are different over here, either because of the past or because of the present.

Driving, for starters. Everything is stick shift (85% of cars sold in Europe have manual transmissions), and diesel. The vehicles have been obtained from various sources, so some have right-hand drive and some have left-hand drive. One could wish that the people who grew up with right-hand drive were given a right-hand vehicle to drive, but one takes what one can get, often. It appears to me that all the left-hand vehicles have been issued, and only right-hand vehicles are left. At least, that’s my story as to why the right-hand vehicles are being driven so erratically.

Then there are the four-way stops. The British, of course, have never seen such things (how many of us had dealt with roundabouts before we built the one by Bainbridge High?).

Did I mention the asphalting is still an ongoing effort? So there are lots of detours …

All in all, the roads are much more adventurous than the “20 km/hr” speed limits would indicate.

Life as a pedestrian can be equally strange — especially for a Washington-stater accustomed to cars yielding the way. One has to walk defensively; wearing those reflective belts favored by the Army and Marines helps, and there’s a flashing-light switch on the little lithium-powered LED flashlights too.


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