Last night, our family took Behrooz and I out to see the largest flag in the world. At night, the flag is lit up from all directions and really looks quite specatular. Afterward, we went out for ice cream and baklava. It was really a great experience. However, the after quite the exhilarating car ride, I decided to focus my next blog post on the things one should know before they drive in Tajikistan.
1) Seatbelts... wait. What are those?! Not a single person ever wears them here. Ever.
2) Potholes are much more important to avoid than people. If you're facing a car in a narrow alley, stand in a pothole. You'll be fine.
3) Passing is always acceptable. If someone is going slower than you'd like them to go, simply pass them. Oncoming traffic will see what you are doing and provide you a barely large enough area to complete your task.
4) Make your own lane. I'm unsure as to why the government has even painted lane markers on the pavement- no one follows them.
5) Red means go. One might think that green is ordinarilly the color that denotes "go", but in Tajiki culture this does not hold true. If the intersection is relatively clear, red is just another way to describe green.
6) Cars are the king of the road. This goes hand in hand with number two, and is essentially a warning to all pedestrians. Pedestrians never have the right of way.
7) No spot is too small. If there's one thing that's true about Tajikistan's drivers, it's this: they can pull in and out of any space, no matter how little room they have or how impossible it seems. It's true, because I've seen it done many times.
8) "No parking here". This is of course a joke. You may park here, and you may do it for as long as you like.
9) Left turns are for red lights. Similar to the fifth rule, red is just another way to say go. If you feel the need to turn left when the light is red, go for it!
10) The "double turn lane". This rule is applicable if you are coming up to an intersection and you want to turn. You (apparently) can use the non-designated turning lane to turn as well. If the person who is in the turning lane isn't paying enough attention, you simply cut them off mid-turn (this coincides with the third rule).
11) Everything is a race. Self-explanatory.
Just a little fun. I'm not kidding you though, this is really how people drive in this city. I think everyone here is also a way more competent driver than in the US, only because the rules demand it.