03.07.2009 - 03.07.2009
I felt like I was back in, well, lets just call it somewhere from a previous life and move on. Some travel experiences you love, others you are happy or content with, still others you just accept. Beyond that, there are certain experiences which are vaguely unpleasant, but you put down as a factor of travel and live with it (or, occasionally, pay obscene sums of money to avoid). Sometimes you can even find excitement in them when they are infrequent or new occurrences.
But certain experiences you just dislike: sometimes irrationally, sometimes not. In said previous life i had spent several periods in countries where shared taxis (knackered saloon cars, normally) are a fact of life and frequently overloaded. For reasons that are vaguely irrational, I have never been desperately bothered by minibuses or trucks which are crammed beyond belief, but have intensely disliked shared sardine taxis.
It was in just such a situation that i now found myself again, bringing back those memories - including the memory of how much I disliked them - and (despite being the youngest person in the car) instantly thought 'i'm just too old for this sh1t now'. And so there we were, in an ancient Toyota Corolla, which no longer starts without being pushed, has no suspension to speak of and with bits falling off &/or scraping along the road, barreling along at typically obscene Ugandan speeds on a bouncy road with plenty of obstacles – potholes, cyclists, pedestrians, chickens; that sort of thing – and several sheer drops just to add to the likelihood of death.
I later discovered there were 6 large men on the back seat, plus 3 children and some bags, but at the time i had no way of finding out. It was impossible to turn my head far enough sideways to look. I was sharing the passenger seat with a fellow idiot (a middle aged gent), 3 children and a goat, whilst there was yet another passenger squeezed between me and the driver on the drivers seat, making gear changes memorably jerky due to the number of extra knees and legs in the way.
In my younger days, such journeys were an exciting novelty until that novelty value rapidly ran out. Now they are the sort of thing I dread and will happily pay extra to avoid if i know about it in advance: call me old fashioned, but i've long believed that the driver should have a seat to himself. Especially when he is driving.