Monday, December 31, 2007

Driving is a dangerous thing...

Today I'm the office finishing up two accident reports that occurred within 5 days of each other. Before you go thinking I've adapted to the Angolan driving style, neither of them were my fault!

Accident #1: Two friends and I were sitting in my living room at 10:15 on a Sunday night. We heard a large crash and the sound of breaking glass. We rush to the balcony to see two drunk guys on a motorcycle, somehow attached to the back of my car. (Reminder: I live on what I like to call the Most Dangerous Block in Lobito, right in front of an outdoor bar.) Now, there is a security guard posted to my building that is supposed to intervene in situations just like this- he was totally absent, of course. The three of us quickly ran downstairs to see if there was any damage. We tried to make it down there before the bandidos got away, but as we were exiting the stairwell they fled. I passed the guard, who was standing in the carport the whole time, why the heck he didn't stop the guys, and he slurred, "Oh no, they hit it and ran away!" Yep, dude was drunk. Now, we had time to hear the accident, run to my balcony AND make it down the stairs before the two guys left, so the guard had plenty of time to at least go over and stop the guys from leaving. Luckily there was little damage- just a broken license plate light. Oh yeah, there were about 30 witnesses at the bar and no one did anythign either.

Accident #2: Not five days later, the SAME two friends and I were coming back from another exciting trip to ShopRite. The set-up is so difficult to explain, so I will just say that there was some road construction going on, and a traffic cop was directing traffic down a side street. I knew there was a way to get to the street I wanted as long as I continued straight. Many of the other cars that had been diverted were making U-turns down a second side street. One of these cars making a U-turn was in front of me. I could tell right away that he was going to make a U-turn without looking behind him- and not see me coming. I honked to get his attention but it was too late and he slammed into the side of my car, right between the two passenger-side doors. Luckily, no one was hurt in either car.

I pulled over immediately and was pissed off. However, I saw that the other driver was wearing a blue uniform. "PLEASE let that be a security guard," I thought. Sure enough, with my luck, it was a senior police officer. I haven't had good experience with police officers, so I was a little worried. I quickly checked to make sure that I had my passport(s), NY driver license and international driver license- luckily I did. "BE NICE, it's a cop!" I hissed to my friends.

Luckily for us, the officer was very nice and immediately assumed responsibility for the accident. There was no need to call the police so we were able to take care of things right there.

Accident #3: We had to wait for our org's fleet manager to show up so that he could coordinate the repair work with the officer. It was taking a while, and the officer started to get antsy. I was trying to keep the guy calm because everything had been going well up until this point. As we were waiting, I see a taxi van totally sideswipe a motorcycle. the guy on the motorcycle fell right down. It was really scary because it looked like he was hurt. However, the guy jumped up- he was actually wearing a helmet!- and started cursing. To the motorcyclist's luck, there happened to be a cop- the guy who had hit me!- at the scene already. The taxi driver pulled over, surprisingly, and they worked out whatever needed to be done.

1 comment:

jotabloguer said...

Hi! Its Angola in your good way! You needs try understanding how the people acts and thinks!
But the angolan people are im most of cases, warmly, and generous!I was lived in colonial war (1972/74) , and what i can say is: Angola remains forever in my soul!Its my second life!!! Not virtual world...beleive me!
I back again for read your worads, ok?
Jorge madureira-Portugal!