Thursday, June 14, 2012

Minibus Travel - The Guide Part 1



I saw a minibus with the slogan in English stuck on the back 'Dancing with the Wolves'. I assumed this was a reference to the movie of many years ago with a 'the' put in for good measure. 


For the unitiated, minibus drivers in Istanbul are, putting it politely, the wolves of the road. Apparently they own the roads, no really, they do! If there is a traffic queue at lights or anyway for that matter they have permission, granted by themselves, to completely ignore it and push to the front using their horn as if they have a critically ill patient on board whom they are taking to the emergency room. They carry an arrogant impatience with anyone else who happens to enter their world (i.e. use a road they are on) and take great pleasure in pushing as many people on board as is possible despite the weather, heat, lack of ventilation or lack of seats. 


I quite like minibus drivers when I'm on a minibus, it's like being on the side of the pirates in a Black Beard movie, you know that they are not bound by regulations of the road and will get you where you want to go without taking prisoners. If I'm in a car I avoid them and patiently come to terms with the fact that they are the bosses despite minor issues like traffic lights, right of way etc...


As Turkey is rapidly modernising, for anyone coming from Asia Istanbul presents itself as a modern European city. The traffic however, is filled with modern cars which are being driven in a manner that would be more appropriate on the streets of Mumbai.


This has nothing whatsoever to do with the picture above - Üsküdar Hooks, a watercolour.


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