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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Pyscho Milt writes on Kuwaiti drivers

A while ago I asked Psycho Milt to write us something about his experiences in Kuwait. Here's his first reply:
Antarctic Lemur invited me to submit a few writings about life in Kuwait, and I'm happy to oblige. There are several riffs that repeat in any expat's conversations about Kuwait - the heat and dust, the infuriating and hypocritical ban on alcohol (hypocritical in the sense that Kuwaitis don't seem to have any problems keeping their own liquor cabinets full), the outrageous road carnage, the non-existent customer service and labyrinthine bureaucracy. All of these are interestingly bizarre to the Westerner, but let's start off with the road chaos, because I've got photos to prove it...

Pyscho Milt's Mercury Grand Marquis - 4.6L V8

Now, you will probably think you've seen bad driving. Most likely you've been to various cities of the world where it was hard to imagine that drivers have a life expectancy of more than a few weeks. Well, most of those places are pussy kind of places compared to Kuwait. They have narrow roads, clogged traffic, tiny powerless cars. To join the big league of automotive munters, come to Kuwait. Here we have 6-lane motorways with a speed limit of 120 kph and main urban roads with an 80 kph limit (and only a few speed cameras to enforce those limits). Kuwaitis spurn tiny cars and get about in S-Class Mercedes, 7-series BMWs, Chev Suburbans and Ford Expeditions. Imagine you're in Bangkok, only the locals have all got fat V8s under the bonnet, the roads are wide open and nobody's enforcing a speed limit.

Crashed Mercedes Coupe on side of highway

This situation is particularly bad news for Indian expats driving things like Hyundai Accents and Mitsubishi Lancers - especially the ones who feel that India's 80 kph limit is fast enough for anyone and can be adhered to in the centre lane of a Kuwaiti motorway. The Westerner also does his best to adhere to quaint foreign habits like using indicators, giving way and not weaving in and out of the traffic at 160 k, but sooner or later feels his driving skills slowly disintegrating around him, so that when he eventually comes back to his own country he hates the narrow roads and slow, cautious drivers (yes, slow cautious NZ drivers! It gets into your blood, I tell you!).

For a look at driving in Kuwait, check out the photos at Psycho Milt's Kuwait driving experience and for the interesting automotive roadside sculptures that result, check out Crashed cars of Kuwait.

Psycho Milt

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 8/30/2005 05:43:00 pm


Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Well I thought it was an interesting post, even if no-one else did, you rude bastards...

8/30/2005 09:28:00 pm  
Blogger Ashley Clarkson said...

I guess you don't need to pay to see the stock car races in Kuwait then...

8/30/2005 10:59:00 pm  
Blogger Ashley Clarkson said...

...or destruction derby...

8/30/2005 10:59:00 pm  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

Lots of it you wish you weren't seeing because it's bearing down on you in a hurry. Only one fender bender so far though, touch wood. I've been photographing the crashed cars seriously for 3 months, and I've clocked up 20 - just going backwards and forwards to work, and just shooting the most spectacular ones. There's a lot of it about!

8/30/2005 11:41:00 pm  
Blogger noizy said...

I thought it was interesting enough to add to metafilter.

8/31/2005 11:00:00 am  

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