Road Nonsense

There’s been a fun discussion on Adventures in Ankara following a post about car parking in Turkey. I’ve written before about the sheer insanity of driving in Turkey as have many, many others. It’s a story that just runs and runs. It seems de riguer for death wish drivers to dart along pot-holed roads, jump lights and overtake on blind bends while happily playing with their overused horns. Indicating is for girls. This is all hard-wired into the Turkish macho psyche. The Adventures in Ankara post and ensuing debate reminded me of a recent conversation I had with Aziz, the owner of Jack’s Bar, a favourite watering hole of ours. We were supping and chewing the cud when a call came through to his head waiter. He was told he’d passed his driving test. Naturally, there was a round of rapturous applause, a celebratory jig, multiple back slapping and drinks all round (like I need an excuse). Aziz had been helping his young apprentice with driving lessons.

“Great news, ” I said to Aziz. “Now he can go out on his own.”

“No, Jack. He can’t drive yet,” came the inscrutable reply.

Says it all.

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9 thoughts on “Road Nonsense

  1. I drive in Turkey but the other road users terrify me. We fell about laughing when we spotted the Datca driving test place. It looks like one of those places where kids can drive round in go carts! I have now learnt a list of profanities in Turkish to shout out when lunatics annoy me. My favourite and probably cleanest one is ‘You are the son of a flea larvae’.

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  2. Oh dear. Your description of Turkish driving exactly mirrors Jamaican driving – cab drivers being particularly ferocious (and fearless). They have their own set of rules of the road – they follow the no-rules rules. I wonder if the head waiter is now driving/not driving…

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  3. That’s just like my husband, on hiring a car for the first time with my husband, he proudly produced his driving licence. When the car was brought round I said do you want to drive, he kindly declined. Thinking this was odd behaviour I got in and started off on our journey. A little bit later on my hubby complimented me on my driving at which I asked him why he didn’t want to drive, he replied I don’t know how to drive. Asking how he got his licence he said he did his exam etc but had never done any driving apart from what he needed to pass the exam and they wonder why the roads are dangerous here…..

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  4. He still can’t drive…..well after only a 2 hours lesson (the required length of a driving course here) would you?! Mind you he can practically rebuld an engine, act as a paramedic (very useful on these roads) and tell you what to do in the event of an earthquake! Get beyond third gear? No chance!

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  5. I was once a white transit driver in London a very long time ago, that could be scary at times (transit driver verses black cab) but Turkish driving can still get to me….. I now drive a 37 year old Renault 12 estate that looks and feels at times that it just may fall apart at anytime. I worked it out I don’t care about scratches but the other car might !

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  6. Thanks for all the great comments. There are few other subjects that raise the temperature like Turkish driving. An entire blog could be devoted to it, I’m sure.

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  7. Do you remember those cars in the amusement archades of the past? The ones you steer the car at high speed and have to avoid on coming cars and obstacles – that is how they learn here – kid you not, saw the adverising poster with the simulation machine in Mumcular once. Also discounts for group bookings. Oh well, at least most of the guys out there get some experience on the tractors and needless to say it wouldn’t be right for a girl child to attend such a macho course. That said, in Sazkoy I have seen a women driving the tractor which always gives me a thrill.

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