TRANSPORTATION

USA by Mark Rosenfelder, Australia by Chris O'Regan, Austria by Klaus A. Brunner, Brazil by Emilio Neto, Brittany (France) by Damien Erwan Perrotin, Canada & Ontario by Adam Bishop, British Columbia (Canada) by PJ Perdue, Quebec (Canada) by Valerie Bourdeau, China by the English class at the Suzhou branch of Agile Software Co, Colombia by Carlos Thompson Pinzón, England by Graham John Francis de Sales Wheeler, Finland by Johanna Laakso, France by Nicolas Duvernois, Germany by Irgend Jemand, Greece by Chris TDAQ, India by Apurva Mishra, Israel by Robin Alexander, Italy by Riccardo Distasi, Japan by Hirofumi Nagamura, Urban Mexico by Acoyani Garrido Sandoval, The Netherlands by Bas Suverkropp, New Zealand by Gareth Wilson, Nigeria by Didi, Poland by Pawel Stachura, Scotland by Geoff Eddy, South Africa by T'Mar, Sweden by Anders Janson, Turkey by Cyril Alebard, Long Island by Robert Delaney, Southern Louisiana by Andrew Chaney, Texas by Tom Wier, Yorkshire (UK) by Stephanie Bailey, Southcentral Alaska by Cherie Campbell, and the general characteristics of the First Generation Immigrant by John Smith

C

Volkswagon Beetle

Which side of the road / traffic lights / pedestrian safety

Taxis

Quality of public transportation, trains, buses, planes

NORTH AMERICA

U
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You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a small car.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them.

Taxis are generally operated by foreigners, who are often deplorably ignorant about the city.

The train system isn't very good. Trains don't go any faster than cars; you're better off taking a plane.

A
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A

S
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You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a quite small car and an example of a vehicle that is totally impractical for use in Alaska. Alaskans seem to have more large vehicles than most areas in the Lower 48; trucks and SUVs dominate the highways. It's much easier for small cars to get stuck in the winter.

Another thing you will discuss contentiously if you are young and male is which of the four snowmachine (not "snowmobile") companies (Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo, and Yamaha) is the best.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them. Alaskans tend to be slower and more cautious drivers than people in the Lower 48. Going for a drive when you are Outside can be a bit of a shock at first if you've been in Alaska for a long while.

The road system in general is a pain; when it is not covered in ice, it is being worked on by construction crews. Every single major highway in Alaska has to have patchwork done on some part of it every year, because the roads wear down so fast from the harsh weather and frost heaves. Restriping is also commonly done due to snow cover wearing away at the paint.

If you are connected to the road system, you have been stuck behind a stupidly slow moving vehicle (typically a motorhome, and almost invariably operated by tourists) while driving down Alaska's narrow, windy roads during the summer. This angers you to no end because there are few passing zones, and plenty of well-marked rest stops and overlooks. Furthermore, as plenty of road signs attest, it is against the law in Alaska to hold up more than five cars at a time. You never see this law enforced, to your great chagrin. Even so, you take grim satisfaction in counting up the number of cars that accumulate between you and the roadhog, knowing that he is breaking the law.

The Alaska-Canada Highway, or Alcan, was built by the military during World War II, allowing for road access to Alaska from the Lower 48 for the first time.

Taxis are generally operated by foreigners, who are often deplorably ignorant about the city.

The train system is okay but not extensive enough to take you many places. Trains don't go any faster than cars; you're better off taking a plane, especially if you want to visit more remote areas. Due to the lack of widespread road access, Alaskans have occasionally been called "the flyingest people in the world". You might know of someone who has died in a plane crash. Ferries are nothing to sneeze at, either: in the Southeast, the "Marine Highway" is a convenient mode of transportation between islands and parts of the mainland off the road system.

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Prior to 1970, you might have questioned the patriotism of someone with a Volkswagen Beetle. If your car is new, it's likely to be a SUV even though you never go camping and there's no rugged terrain or deep snow that would require it.

You speed up at yellow lights to get through before it turns red; the authorities have accepted this and programmed the lights to remain yellow longer here than they do elsewhere in the US. The speed limit on highways is 55 mph, but you consider anything under 65 to be within the speed limit. You hate when the car in front of you insists on going 55. LI has one of the highest traffic fatality rates in the country. Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal, but you see everyone doing it.

You're almost never a pedestrian, but if you do need to cross a street on foot, traffic lights are only at major intersections. Elsewhere, you wait for an opening in the traffic and then run for it. The only way to make a left turn on most busy streets is to pull into the intersection and wait for the light to turn red.

You measure driving distances in minutes, not miles. Exit numbers on the Long Island Expressway are universally recognized reference points when describing the location of something, and you can detect a non-native by their inability to recognize them or their tendency to call it the "LIE" instead of "the Expressway". How far you drive and the amount of traffic you face is a common topic of conservation. It's not unusual for families to have three or more cars (if there are teenagers). Gas is usually more expensive than in other states. You don't have to pay tolls (unless you try to leave LI), and you find the very idea of having to pay to park to be morally repugnant. Out of state cars are more likely to have license plates from Florida than a more nearby state. Every twenty years or so, the idea of building a bridge across Long Island Sound to Connecticut is considered, but nothing comes of it.

You've probably never been in a taxi unless you've travelled off of LI. If you do need a taxi, you have to request it by telephone, preferably the day before if you need it at a specific time.

Trains are for people who commute all the way to the city for their jobs (not for shorter trips or long distance travelling), although most commuters drive. You see people waiting at bus stops and wonder what's wrong with them. The government is actively trying to get commuters to carpool or use public transportation in order to reduce the traffic which has become horrible, but you have no intention of cooperating.

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Every family has at least one car, and often more. Gas is cheaper than most other places because we pump it right out of the ground. Traffic in cities like Lafayette and Shreveport is just about as bad as New York or Houston. You certainly know what a pirogue is (even if you can't spell it). You may even have seen one before. But you've probably never ridden in one.

Taxis don't drive around looking for customers. If you want a taxi, you have to telephone for one.

You can rest safely at night knowing that your state has some of the worst roads in the nation. It's hard to build a good road on mud. Passenger trains are rare at best. You've probably never ridden on one.

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You might have actually ridden on a horse before, but would never seriously entertain thoughts of using it as regular transportation -- certainly not when the next town is still over an hour away by car. We all have at least one car, and probably two or more. Gas is cheap -- usually right around a dollar per gallon.

They don't call the armadillo the unofficial roadbump for nothing.

 

You can rest safely at night knowing that funds from the regulation of the oil and gas companies help maintain among the best roads in the nation (or so you think). So, why bother with public transport? We never needed the TGVs anyway. Riding on a subway is a novel experience for you.

C
A
N
A
D
A

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a small car. You drive American or Japanese cars, or maybe a European one, and you aren't sure if there is such a thing as a Canadian car.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them. If you want to travel long distances you would probably use the Trans-Canada Highway (and you would realize that "highways" are what the Americans call "freeways").

Taxis are generally operated by foreigners, who are often deplorably ignorant about the city.

The train system is very important, at least historically, but you probably won't use it much. You're better off taking a plane.

B
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S
H

C
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B
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You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a small car. You are resigned to the fact that Americans think you travel by dogsled.

You drive on the right side of the road, and stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them. In some cities, pedestrians have the right of way.

Taxis are generally operated by locals, who are fairly knowledgeable about the city, and apologetic if they're not.

You’ve flown commercially several times, and you can’t understand what all the jokes about airline food are about; you’ve never had a bad meal on a Canadian airline.

O
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Toronto, as an economic region, includes much of the shore of Lake Ontario, from Hamilton to Oshawa (the "Golden Horseshoe"), as well as the cities and towns to the north towards Lake Simcoe. If you live in this area you might work in Toronto, even if it it takes hours to drive there because of traffic.

 

The major transportation hub is, of course Toronto - that's where the biggest airport is, and that's where the major highways begin (or at least they pass through it). There are many railways and you have probably taken a train at some point, rather than driving, because the province and country are so big. They are still important for trade, within the province, within Canada, and with the US. Charter buses are also useful for intercity travel.

Q
U
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B
E
C

C
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N

 

 

Taxis are generally operated by immigrants, mostly from Haiti. You wish they knew the city better.

Public transit in big cities is very good. If you live in Montreal, you don't need a car at all. Cabs, buses, Metro (subway) and a great network of bike paths get you anywhere you need to be. Planes and trains will take you anywhere in the country faster than driving.

LATIN AMERICA

B
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A
Z
I
L

When you were younger, you considered the Volkswagen Beetle a dream car.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights if someone is around; otherwise you slow down. If you're a pedestrian and cars are anywhere around, you better watch out carefully before crossing the street.

Taxis are operated either by criminals or by exceptionally kind men, who go out of their way to help old ladies and the like.

The train system is for heavy cargo or, in big cities, the poorest people. Planes are too expensive. Everything is done by truck, bus or car.

C
O
L
O
M
B
I
A

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a small car, even if it is actually bigger than many medium-sized cars sold today.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights except for the few first seconds of the red light, after 11 PM, or after checking that nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian, you will wait until all cars stop or until there is room to cross between moving vehicles, even if you are trying to cross at a traffic light.

Taxis are generally operated by locals, who are often ignorant about the city.

There is no train system. It was once, and there are still a few tourist trains, but that is part of a nostalgic past. Planes are common and more reliable than roads, if you can afford it.

M
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C
O

U
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B
A
N

You think of the Volkswagen Beetle as a small car better suited for singles.

You drive on the right side of the road. You always stop at red lights, even if there's nobody around. However, some people, especially students, truckers, cab drivers and bus drivers run past many red lights even with people and pedestrians near the crossing. Thus, you always proceed with caution, and don't cross at all if you see a bus.

Cabs are operated by locals, who have deep knowledge of the city's streets.

You're very careful with bus drivers. They're famous for their rough, totally reckless driving that causes an average of 80-92 people splatted by a bus every year. The train system is just for cargo. The only passenger train is the Chihuahua-Pacífico train, and it doesn't go any faster than cars. Most prefer the car or the plane.

EUROPE

A
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S
T
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A

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a small to medium size car. For some irrational, deeply emotional reason, you think German cars are the very best in the world. It's a matter of faith. Your mind tells you that the Japanese make cars that are cheaper and more reliable than German ones, but your heart doesn't follow. Italians make fast sportscars which are unfortunately quite unreliable. Swedes make expensive cars. You know that the fuel combustion engine was invented by an Austrian.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them.

Taxis are often operated by foreigners, who sometimes know their streets and places better than Austrian drivers, and are almost always friendlier.

The train system is quite good and popular, as is public transport in general. That doesn't keep you from complaining about it, though.

F
I
N
L
A
N
D

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be something between a small and a medium-sized car.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian, you cross streets on the appropriate walkways when there is a green light for pedestrians.

Taxi drivers usually remain silent if the client doesn't start a conversation. You don't have to give tips to taxi drivers, waiters or barbers.

Trains are good, but they mainly reach the towns and cities. If you live in the countryside (and are over 18), you are accustomed to using your car always and everywhere. In Helsinki, the public transportation works well but seems to be used mostly by women and children.

F
R
A
N
C
E

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a medium-sized car.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian, you cross streets on the appropriate walkways when cars are stopped at a red light-- but also anywhere at any time, when you think it's safe.

Taxi drivers always complain about something.

Trains are good, especially the TGV (the one Americans won't build in Texas, because they strangely don't want to spend a single public dime on it). But you regret that the SNCF (the French train company) pays less attention to small lines, which cannot make any profit, because there are too few passengers.

B
R
I
T
T
A
N
Y

F
R

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a small to medium sized car.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them. You need to be 18 to get a drivers license. You have to take paid lessons and cannot practice on your own. This makes getting a drivers license very expensive. You put a BZH insign on your car to show everybody where you are from

Taxis are generally operated by locals, who tend to drive a bit too fast.

The train system is good, even if train drivers often strike for futile reasons. A small part of the railway network is privately run : a small inland line that the S.N.C.F (public railway company) finds unprofitable.

G
E
R
M
A
N
Y

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be between a small and a medium-sized car.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them. There are very few regions of your country where you can travel more than 5-10 kilometers without passing a town or village.

Taxis are sometimes operated by foreigners; taxi drivers used to know the city, but it's getting worse now.

The train system isn't very good. Trains obviously go faster than cars, but they arrive too late too often, and there's often something about breakdowns in the media. Traveling by plane inside your own country is something for people with too much money or not enough time.

G
R
E
E
C
E

You consider the VW Beetle to be a smallish car. However, to you it is a VW Katsaridaki (i.e. 'little cockroach')

You drive on the right side of the road-- or anywhere else as necessitated by circumstance. You stop at red lights, if there are people around, or if you need to light a cigarette. If you're a pedestrian, you will fearlessly cross the street, anywhere you please, whether the light is green or not. Of course you run yellow lights!

 

A train is a transportation alternative used by students, immigrants, soldiers and other minorities. Trains are slow and always over-heated. Cheap, though.

I
T
A
L
Y

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a medium-sized car. You are proud of Italian Ferraris. It is plain to see that Ferrari is tops.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. Usually. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them. If they are approaching the green (or red) lights, however, it gets a little tricky. Will they stop?

Taxis are generally operated by locals, who are usually knowledgeable about the city.

The train system isn't too bad. It's getting too costly though: sometimes as much as a plane.

N
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T
H
E
R
L
A
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D
S

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a small to medium sized car.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them. You need to be 18 to get a drivers license. You have to take paid lessons and cannot practice on your own. This makes getting a drivers license very expensive. If you are between the ages of four and eighty, you own at least one bicycle and use it, too.

Taxis are generally operated by locals, who tend to drive a bit too fast.

The train system is good, although trains may be late. Trains are about as fast as cars. There are inland flights, but the chance you've ever used one is close to zero.

P
O
L
A
N
D

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a medium car. American cars are huge and expensive.

You drive on the right side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. But you tend to disregard yellow lights. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them.

Taxis are generally operated by middle-aged men, who will know the city well.

The train system isn't very good. Trains don't go any faster than cars, and you are not surprised if a train comes late. Trains are cheap, though. Domestic plane routes are for people who do not have to pay with their own money.

S
W
E
D
E
N

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a mediumish car. A Volvo or a Saab is a normal car. Fiat Tipo is small. American cars have become smaller than they used to be. Pre oil crisis U.S. classics are imported and restored by rural Swedes who are wannabe rednecks, if that can be pictured. You do not actually get a very red neck working outdoors in Sweden.

You drive on the right side of the road since 1967. You probably stop your car at red lights even if nobody is around. If you are a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them. You need to be 18 to get a drivers license. You usually take some paid lessons but can also practice a bit on the side with an experienced driver. Lessons are expensive.

Taxis are sometimes operated by foreigners, who are slightly ignorant about the city.

The train system does not seem as reliable as it used to. Trains go faster than cars but they are regrettably more expensive if you travel as a family; you are better off taking your car. Domestic flights are for those who do not pay their tickets themselves.

E
N
G
L
A
N
D

U
K

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a reasonably small car.

You drive on the left and often wonder why foreigners drive on the wrong side. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them.

Taxis, particularly in London, are generally operated by fascists who entertain you with their quirky views on immigration and penal policy. They do know the city, though.

The train system, by contrast, is dreadful. Trains go much faster than cars, but never run on time, especially Virgin Trains.

Y
O
R
K
S
H
I
R
E

U
K

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a reasonably small car.

You drive on the left and often wonder why foreigners drive on the wrong side. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them.

Taxis are a wasteful extravagance and rarely used. They are generally operated by fascists who entertain you with their quirky views on immigration and penal policy. They do know the city, though.

The train system, by contrast, isn't very good. Trains don't go any faster than cars, and you often comment that, although nationalised rail was pretty bad, it was still better than it is now.

S
C
O
T
L
A
N
D

U
K

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a small car.

You drive on the left side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around, and often have to stop at green lights too. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them - except in Glasgow, where the colour of the lights is of no importance.

Taxis are probably too expensive, but they get you there quicker than trains.

The train system is a joke, unless you live in Glasgow; you prefer to travel in your car, even if you have to sit in traffic jams for longer than the duration of the equivalent train journey.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

A
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You drive on the left-hand side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them.

Taxis are operated generally either by foreigners, as in America; or, as in Britain, drivers who'll tell you that Pauline is a saint and Port Arthur was a government conspiracy.

The railways are run by the states, and that's not likely to change. The trains, trams and buses are pretty good in some cities-- but places like Sydney have desperately overloaded public transport systems (dissapointingly, however, promised Olympic chaos did not eventuate).

N
E
W

Z
E
A
L
A
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D

 

You drive on the left side of the road. You're bemused that affluent looking New Yorkers on American TV don't own a car.

Taxis are operated by slightly shady characters who charge outrageous prices.

You hardly ever travel by train. If you commute, it's by car or bus.

ASIA

I
N
D
I
A

Cars are a luxury of the rich.

You drive on the left side of the road. Traffic lights exist only in the big cities. If you're a pedestrian you watch out for your own safety.

Taxis are generally operated by ordinary people; they only exist in the big cities.

The train system is the only mode of long distance transport for over 95% of people.

C
H
I
N
A

You consider the Volkswagen Santana to be a medium-sized car. Volkswagen Beetle? What's that?

You drive on the right side of the road. You may or may not stop at red lights whether or not anybody's around. When you're riding a bicycle or walking on the road, you will trust your eyes over the stoplights. You may still drive a car on the road after you've had a drink.

The Volkswagen Santana is the vehicle of taxi drivers.

The train system is acceptable. But there are too many people on the trains. You will feel uncomfortable if a stranger is closer than a meter away, but, on a crowded train or bus, you will have no choice but to bump into and push other people. In this case, comfort or discomfort is irrelevant: your only concern is for your personal belongings. Taking a plane, if you can afford it, is a better way to travel.

J
A
P
A
N

You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be a medium-sized car.

You drive on the left side of the road. You stop at red lights even if nobody's around. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will fearlessly cross the street in front of them. Gasoline is expensive (around $4 a gallon), so cars aren't all that useful.

Taxi drivers are generally courteous and wear white gloves and a tie, but some of them look and speak like they used to be yakuza gangsters. They usually do know their way around the city, though.

The train system is excellent. The bullet trains (Shinkansen) are the pride of Japan. Commuter trains and subways run with clockwork precision and are the best way to get around in the cities. The roads are too narrow and congested. You usually don't take a plane except when you're going to a different island in the archipelago, or when you're going overseas.

AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST

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G
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If you stopped at a red light, you'd be considered mentally retarded. If you're a pedestrian, run when you're crossing the road unless suicide is a phrase that fascinates you.

 

Oh there are trains alright, which you can use, all depending on where you want to land. The sea, the mountains, or into the nearest tree? The choice is yours!!

S
O
U
T
H

A
F
R
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A

The Volkswagen Beetle is known as a "volksie" (pronounced 'fork-see') and it's considered a small car, but everyone knows it's the most dependable car ever made. You consider "the new Beetle" to be a shameless marketing ploy by the Volkwagen people, and you'd never consider buying one because the engine is in the FRONT!

You drive on the left-hand side of the road like other civilized countries do. You tend to follow the dictum, 'Red light, stop. Green light, go. Yellow light, go very fast.' You have to be careful when you cross the road, but you do so with minimum fear - unless you're in Durban. You can drink alcohol, and drive, when you're 18. Some of the large number of roads deaths are due to some 18 year-olds doing both at once.

There is the occasional "yellow cab" type taxi, but most taxis are white minibuses. To hail one you stand on the corner with your index finger in the air, and you have developed nerves of steel from riding in them. If you have a car you will have used extremely foul language when a minibus taxi has stopped without warning, cut you off in traffic, or driven twice the speed limit past you. You know how in America they have "gang wars"? In South Africa you have "taxi wars". Yes, complete with machine guns and innocent bystanders getting killed.

Trains are only for people with no alternative for getting around. You yourself will always travel by car or minibus taxi. The bus service is average but useless to anybody who doesn't work in or near the CBD (central business district).

I
S
R
A
E
L

 

You drive on the right side of the road. You may not stop at red lights if nobody's around. You don't feel compelled to stick to the speed limit and you prefer not to let cars pass you on the highway. If you're a pedestrian and cars are stopped at a red light, you will still be careful crossing the street, because many cars do not stop for pedestrians. As a pedestrian, you will not risk crossing against the light.

Taxis are generally operated by Israelis, mostly men, who are often rude and will try to over-charge you. Bargaining is a must. The driver may decide to pick someone else up along the way, without asking you first, even though this is illegal. The general attitude is that many, if not all, rules are made to be broken, or at least gotten around if necessary.

The bus system covers the entire country and is relatively inexpensive. The train system, by contrast, isn't as comprehensive. More train routes are developing every year.

T
U
R
K
E
Y

You consider the VW Beetle to be a smallish car. However, to you it is a VW Tosbaga (turtle).

You drive on the left side of the road-- or anywhere else as necessitated by circumstance. You don't stop at red lights, even if there are people around. If you're a pedestrian, you will fearlessly and nonchalantly cross the street, anywhere you please, whether the light is green or not.

 

A train is a transportation alternative you only remember when the Ankara-Istanbul road is blocked due to heavy snow. Trains are painfully slow, always over- or under-heated.

SUBCULTURES

1
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G
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N

I
M
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You consider the Volkswagen Beetle to be someone else's medium-sized family-car since, as a penniless first generation immigrant, you can only afford public transport. Maybe, in time, you will be able to afford a second-hand 'runabout' (subcompact): Fiat / Lada / Ford Fiesta etc.

Since you are sitting in public transport it doesn't matter what side of the road / tracks you drive on. However, crossing at the designated place is recommended if you want to make your move to the magnet country worthwhile and longlasting. Yet, you may cross fearlessly in most developed countries when the little green man starts flashing. A word of warning though: in the USA, make sure you have sufficient insurance coverage before attempting to cross the road. Petrol (gasoline) is getting increasingly more expensive and we're still 30 years off a viable fuel-cell engine.

Taxi drivers may be courteous or rude - you don't know since you use public transport. However, both bus and train drivers generally have a pretty good knowledge of their routes.

The train (and general public transport) system is vital and all the better if it is excellent. A good network of suburban trains as well as metros / subways and buses is ideal since you cannot afford a car. Northern Europe is well served by extensive rail and air networks. Domestic transport in most magnet countries is pretty good. You quickly become familiar with the bus / local train time-tables.

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