Anyone who knows me will know that I’m not a good passenger. I only let Gert drive when I am too tired to stay awake! And I drove in Vegas as I only lasted 2 minutes with Gert at the wheel!!
So, haven’t I had to make an enormous adjustment here in Malaysia!
Hassan picked us up from the airport in his people mover. We allocated Gert the front seat – I’m pretty sure he has dropped a few years of his lifespan!!
The first thing we notice is the scooter drivers. Some are going faster than us, some are going slower! Most are wearing their jackets backwards!! (We still have no idea why – guessing it is because of the bugs?). Plenty have passengers on the back and ALL of them are driving wherever the hell they want!!
There was loads of traffic as it was Chinese New Year. And I mean traffic jammed tight! We watched dozens of people riding scooters and shooting through the traffic. You wouldn’t believe how
brave/stupid they are!! They just drive and hope everyone gets out of their way – and that’s the cars too. Barely any indicating, driving over double lines, driving across marked sections that are not for driving, at 45 degree angles right across all the lanes when there are no lines at the toll booths!!!! (The toll was 1RM – about 33 cents Australian!) And when all the lanes are blocked – just drive on down the side in a new lane you have created for yourself!!! OH GOD!!!
(Have you ever seen anyone reverse out of a toll booth? Well if your little card has no credit left on it you just reverse out and squeeze into the next booth here in KL!!)
At one point Hassan was amused to discover that all five of us were wearing our seatbelts while he hadn’t had his on once! We explained that there are large fines in Australia (not to mention your death in an accident) for not wearing your seatbelt. He said the laws are in Malaysia too but there is not as much enforcement. Makes perfect sense huh???
By the end of our trip and getting in and out of the car a few times most of us weren’t wearing seatbelts. Gert still had his on but he was in the front seat and still having convulsions every time a scooter whizzed past his ear!! When in Rome…….!
After the Durian eating incident we had to drive down a very winding road to get to KL. I sneakily reached for my seatbelt and clipped it firmly into place. Then I casually reminded Jono to put his on. He looked at me wierd but did as he was asked for once.
It soon became apparent to all the passengers that they should put their belts on too!! As we went around each curve in the road we greeted an oncoming car or truck in our lane!!! They had at least 1/2 of their vehicle on our side of the road!! There were little involuntary squeals coming from me – I was trying so hard to be cool but I badly wanted to get out and walk!!
Obviously you’re reading this post so we made it to the bottom alive! Alas, the fun was not over yet!
After we had dinner with Hassan we were back into the ridiculous traffic. An indian lady refused to let us merge and rushed on ahead. A blue mini van was next to her and a little further up the road she started beeping her horn and screaming out the window at the van!! The driver ignored her so she raced up the inside and swerved in front of his van so he couldn’t move forward. Then she leapt out in the middle of 3000 cars and started screaming and gesturing at him. We all had a good laugh until we realised we were stuck behind her car until she was ready to go!
Hassan beeped his horn a few times and we laughed some more! There was barely a scratch on her car but she was intent on going off her scone at the other driver. Bear in mind we had only been on the ground for 4 hours by this stage and we were already having this hilarious incident!
Then a scooter went past us. No bid deal – we were kind of used to it by now. As it whizzes through the traffic, us three girls in the back take a closer look. We see two tiny feet with tiny shoes wrapped around the passenger!
Suddently there’s screaming from all three of us!!! “THERE’S A BABY ON THE SCOOTER!!!!!!!
We could hardly believe our eyes! A driver, a passenger and a sleeping baby squeezed in between the two!! And weaving through the traffic like a Kamakaze!! Hassan pronounced them a daredevil! We all just felt unwell!!
In the days following we have actually seen a scooter crash and slide up the street! The two riders got up, picked up their shopping, dusted themselves off and continued as though nothing had happened!!
We’ve also learnt that 17 people die every day on Malaysia’s roads – a big chunk of them scooter drivers. Really not a big surprise after the number we saw whizzing through red lights!!
Lucky for us Hassan is a calm and patient driver. He didn’t weave all over the road and he didn’t manage to kill a baby on a scooter while we were passengers!
Now if we could just train him to use his indicator and not to reverse into traffic at toll booths all will be fine!!
No doubt this is not the last time we will see this behaviour here in Asia.
We had an opportunity to rent a car from our friends in Penang but we said HELL NO!!! There’s no way we will risk killing someone’s baby on a scooter!!!
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