I got distracted and left out the point of the title in the last post. Our cab drivers to and from the Gimnaziya were madmen. We started out with a nice illegal left on red, followed by several illegal U-turns. Several times we almost ran into buses, but that’s pretty typical, because the bus drivers never, ever look before pulling back out into traffic. Sometimes, in fact, one bus will stop far enough away from the curb that another bus decides to slip into that gap. I was very nearly hit one time because while I was getting off the bus, another bus drove between me and the curb.

 

Apparently that is a Kazan trait. It’s a very congested city, with a completely unreasonable number of traffic lights (which, in my opinion, only serve to make the city more dangerous, since half the people ignore them completely and half the people (okay, a third of the people) drive as if everyone were going to follow the law. Which is almost never the case).

 

I spent this whole weekend at my friend Lilia’s apartment. Last night, she took me back to my apartment to get my things for the second overnight, and that is when I looked death in the eyes. We got in a fender-bender as we were pulling out of my parking lot when she backed into the guy who had been parked behind her. In her defense, his lights were off, and at that time of day, it was probably impossible to see him without them. She decided that he had probably been pulling up with his lights off at the same time that she was backing up, thinking that she was leaving and he could just pull in without stopping. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that he had been there when I left my building, so it was definitely she that hit him and not the other way around. They yelled at each other for a few minutes, then each climbed back into their cars calling the other not very nice names, then parted without calling the cops or exchanging insurance information.

 

Trying to veer from a central lane across one lane of traffic to take an exit also almost ended badly, as did driving down a four-lane, two-way road that had NO LINES. At least, people were using it as a four-lane road. I feel like maybe it was designed to be two.

 

While waiting for Lilia to get groceries while I stayed behind in case a copy came to fuss at us for double-parking on a major road (as if I would have been of any use if a cop had actually caught us), I was reminded of this depiction of Russian traffic:

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That’s OK, though. It’s almost time to leave, and I’m sure that Turkish and Georgian drivers are more responsible. /s

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