I’m used to driving in heavy, chaotic traffic. I drive I-95 all the time, and have no issues taking my car into Manhattan or Boston. (Boston is worse!) It’s not so difficult fighting traffic NOB. Just lean on your horn and keep your middle finger limber.
But I have issues with driving in foreign countries, even if they’re neighboring countries. It’s irrational, I know, and pretty lame.
I took my car to Montreal once, which shouldn’t have been a big deal. Just a ride up the New York Thruway and through the customs booths. But I was caught off guard to see signs had no English, and even with arrows and proper nouns, they were confusing. A sign warning me of a work zone appeared to me to be telling it to keep going ahead for parking. I assumed they would provide both the French and the English, the way we do at home with Spanish/English. But non. I ended up turning into a bike path, which did not amuse the Quebecois.
Driving in Mérida is so stressful that even one of our most uplifting bloggers one day delivered a rare rant over her morning commute to the yoga studio. Maybe if I just avoid driving during a full moon? Since Mexico’s inclination toward polite manners appears to dissolve behind the wheel, would flipping the bird be an acceptable and effective maneuver?
We all drive on the same side of the road, the red/green/yellow signals are the same, and the Stop signs look familiar enough. But as a passenger, I’ve seen enough. One real estate agent drove us up the Paseo de Montejo, north toward “Boston Pizza” (an unlikely combination of words it seems to me) and TGI Fridays, the Land Rover dealership, etc. I felt like we had driven straight into outer Phoenix. But at intersections and merges, our experienced driver was occasionally doing battle with determined, me-first drivers.
Looking for a house in which to nest, I crave a walkable neighborhood, but I know I’ll also be craving a Starbucks coffee then and again as well. And that will mean driving north past the TGI Fridays and the Land Rover dealer.