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August 21, 2007

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The worst thing we encountered otherwise was that driving. I honestly thought California drivers were horrible. The overly aggressive tactics, the obnoxiousness to each other, etc, I thought were worse in Cali than in New Mexico. Well, Georgia takes the cake for bad drivers so far. I cannot come up with words to describe how I felt about this. The English language does not have the necessary invective. Traffic was worse than in the Bay Area. Um? huh? There were two very good reasons.

The first is that exits are not just exits for is on the sign. More than once we found that on exiting the off ramp would sprout multiple routes and that they were not always as clearing marked as we’d expected: I compared notes from another Californian from my classes and he was having a frakked up time of it too by accidentally missing the right ramp (sometimes out of 4 or more). The Oakland Maze is less scary! So, people are dodging all over to get into the right exit. My instructor stated that Atlantans were not so upset with Sherman for burning the place, but were hopping mad for leaving the road system intact.

The second reason is that Atlantans simply cannot merge. It is beyond them. What is orderly, in comparison for Bay Area residents to do on the freeway, these guys simply are incapable. There were times when two lanes would become one and the drivers would continue double file in a single lane for over a thousand feet. Another ‘amusing’ variant of the unable to merge gene expressing itself was that if someone could not get into the lane they wanted, they STOP DEAD COLD IN THE INTERSTATE AND WAIT TO GET IN. Cars would and would backup into a gridlock situation because some dipshibbit would just refuse to budge until he, by golly and gum, got into the lane he wanted. Gottimhimmel, these people are frakkin insane with blink tag! What would normally take me 20 minutes on the freeway with no traffic could turn into 2 ½ hours there (and did! It really did!). Just because people cannot merge. There’s gotta be a genetic reason for it, I swear. We can cure it. This won’t hurt but a bit, I promise.

A tangential comment my wife said was as we were driving back to hotel one night was that she noticed that a lot of the cars were bumped, dinged, or whatnot. Almost all of them were in the side 9but not to bad) like someone was trying to merge and couldn’t quite make it. Instead they’d bump the car they were trying to get ahead of.

Another darkly amusing bit was that Atlantans must have some serious issues with car maintenance. All I can think of is that maintenance must be that it is beyond them or they are getting fleeced by their mechanics or something. We always saw at least one car, truck, or semi broken down every two miles on the highways. One day, Thursday, it was worse: one per mile. It didn’t matter what time of day or night it was either.

From my blog here: http://thedragonstales.blogspot.com/2007/08/atlanta-blog-post.html

Amusing extension. Last night my wife was driving home from her classes. There was one car she couldn't get around. The driver was slow at jsut the wrong times and sped up otherwise. The person left at least three car lengths in front of that individual's car and plainly was excreting bricks. My wife couldn't figure out what was wrong with them. Nor could she get around, so she resigned herself for a bit until the turkey would get out of the way. She got curious for some reason about where the person was from. She doesn't normally look at license plates. This time she did and... the person was from Georgia.

Damnit, they followed us home!

PS. I'm really enjoying your travelogue, Noel. Please keep it up. It's been very illuminating.

I told you there'd be readers. You just have to give it time. (also, I should finish blog renovation, add Technorati tags, fix the archives, and possibly part the Red Sea.)

There was that time when I was in Germany as a little kid and I thought that "Ausfahrt" must be this large German city that I had never heard of-- after all, there were all these signs on the autobahn directing how to get there.

When I first walked around Würtzburg, I kept running across "Einbahnstrasse" -- wow, that thing was all over town!

Puerto Ricans and lanes -- there are lots of streets here in Ponce which to a Hoosier eye look like one wide-ish lane, but to Puerto Ricans are at least two lanes, unmarked but real. We find common ground only because I drive a van, thus forcing the issue.

SIGNAGE is something that to a Puerto Rican is superfluous. The reason is simple: since the whole island is 150 miles long and 50 wide, everybody already pretty much knows where they're going. Thus there is no reason for signs, because the procedure is identical in all cases: drive until you're in the area, then ask somebody, and they'll tell you, "Go down two, no three stop lights and turn left at the Burger King, then go three stop signs, no four, and you're there." They tell you to turn left at the Burger King because there's a Burger King mandated by law every 300 feet. Once we wanted to eat at BK but couldn't find a parking space for a couple blocks, and we found that we were already at another BK.

Actually, all the Burger Kings here are owned by two brothers who are now richer than Creosote.

Roads in the metro area aren't too bad, though, I'll give you that.

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