Death as a fellow passenger


But we live to tell the tale!

Four of them are waiting next to me at the traffic lights. Four of them, all on one motorbike!  As usual helmets are nowhere to be seen: father, mother, son and daughter.  A driving delight of the special kind: death is the fifth passenger.  I am reminded of something I saw in Curahuasi.  A couple holding a baby on such a two wheeling drive along the road.  Motorcycling is great fun! But suddenly a dog bounds across the road. The driver slams on the brakes. The baby flies through the air and smacks onto the tarmac. The baby dies two days later through multiple brain-hemorrhages in the intensive care unit of the Hospital Diospi Suyana.

Two days ago an “un-helmeted” motorcyclist cruised past me at the crossroads. We missed each other by a whisker. But we live to tell the tale.  Continuing on my journey I reached the end of Curahuasi ten minutes later.  A bus overtakes a lorry in the inside of a curve and uses the lane on the opposite side of the road– my lane.  Within a split second I wrench the wheel around dragging my car to the right – I can start to breathe again.

It appears that the South American driving style does not expect a tomorrow as if there is no tomorrow.  They are prepared to take high risks and drive under the motto: no pasa nada – nothing will happen.  But the statistics paint a different picture: this life-motto is lethal.  In Peru no one should get into a car, if (s)he is not prepared to have death as a fellow passenger. /KDJ

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