Sunday, October 20, 2013

The joy of travel is dimming

I used to love to travel and in the past was the main organiser of trips for groups of friends. Bungalows on estates were a favourite destination.

I just returned from Bandarawela, we stayed a couple of days at an elegantly appointed bungalow, with a lot of history preserved, well laid out with some fine views. The food and atmosphere were excellent, so whats the complaint?

Its the drive. The roads are now a nightmare. Its not that the roads are crumbling, its just that the traffic and driving are maddening.

I always leave early and generally after getting a few miles outside of Colombo the traffic peters out and the rest of the drive is very pleasant. If one leaves early in the morning the Colombo traffic is avoided altogether and the whole drive is a breeze. There are occasional blocks in towns or a slow moving lorry or bus will hold things up for a while but that was about it.

Now, come the long weekend, half the country seems to be on the move. Many don't seem to know how to drive, wandering erratically around the road with no clear signalling and there are heaps and heaps of trishaws and "batta" vans on every single road, holding up traffic everywhere.

Until recently trishaws were generally concentrated around towns and "batta" vans did not exist; now both are found all over the main trunk roads. Add to that the aforementioned Sunday drivers who tail slow vehicles without overtaking and the trip becomes a bit like dodgem cars, constantly seeking gaps in the road trying overtake these miserable creatures.

Mind you, I was not even driving on this trip, (or on the last trip, when I first experienced the problem).

All this frustration while only doing the backseat driving, watching the road like a hawk, shouting instructions to my Uncle to overtake, overtake and keep blowing that damn horn! I couldn't even enjoy the passing scenery, usually so pleasant and almost a part of the holiday itself.

I ate far too much on this trip, especially the puddings, but I'm off now to look for more comfort food-home made bread pudding. I think I deserve it, don't you?


Son of the Morning Light said...

i feel your pain. i drove to Kandy a few months ago and it was bloody horrible. hopefully we'll have a few more expressways soon.

Jack Point said...

Thanks for dropping by, and yes, even I would welcome more expressways.

sbarrkum said...

Around 2PM on Fridays the traffic from NYC to the Jersey Shore or Eastern Long Island or Pennsylvania Water Gap is almost like a parking lot. A one and half hour drive at 55mph becomes a stop and go 4 hour drive or more at 20-30mph.

Expressways may solve the problem for little while because the hoi-polli cannot afford vehicles that can use the expressways.

The best solution is to make sure the large part of the population are kept poor and cannot afford to travel about on vacation/holidays

sbarrkum said...

Son of the morning light says elsewhere ain reason for using the expressways is to avoid buses, bicycles, trishaws, motorcycles, dogs, and other indisciplined road users who are the primary reason for delays and traffic jams across the country. I will happily pay double what is charged on the southern expressway if this detrius can be kept off it.

"detrius" (sic: detritus): Really. I am amazed at the entitlement and let alone publicly state it.

May the new taxes, to the extent he/she cannot afford to happily pay double may make sense.

Delilah said...

Driving to NE last year we literally had to crawl for a couple of hours on the Hatton route because the roads were so messed up.
That being said I realized how bad colombo rds were while just doing short errands after a c section. Every pothole was marked by pain :(

Jack Point said...

Got back from Matale last week, and the return drive from Kandy (the worst road in the country) was a nightmare.