Hey Guys! Thanks again for stopping by. Last time we got together (Do 2 Rights make a Wrong?) (A whimsical writing) I shared with you the harrowing recap of our 1st driving experience in Singapore. Again we are from the USA where driving on the other side of the road is as foreign to us as this culture. (The whimsicality continues as its time to try to make it back home)
I must admit we strongly considered leaving our car at the top of the parking garage in the sky and simply walking the 3/4 of a mile back home with all of our groceries strapped onto the backs of our children.
After some trepidation but armed with self-confidence instilled in us from the Self Help books read over the last 6 months we decided to give it a go again. Actually a quick game of Paper, Rock, Scissors determined who would have the responsiblity of getting us home safely. I still remember displaying my confidence that we could do this! but that soon faded as it was quickly brought to my attention by my children that the only reason I was going to try to drive us home was because I lost paper, rock, scissors….
OK, a quick prayer was sent up for protection and we were on our way once again. we always say a prayer when we start out on a long journey, it’s just what we do. Even though not sure the 3/4 mile trip back home would be considered a long journey. Nonetheless we all knew what stood between us and home “NEWTON CIRCUS” just the utterance of those 2 words sends not a cold chill down my spine as that would be a good thing here in this tropical climate. But more of a feeling of dread like having to use a port a potty on a hot summer day.
Let me try to explain what Newton Circus is. Well I know what it is not. It’s Not a Circus at all. Well kind of maybe? I’m not sure I have the words to describe it accurately, but imagine a 5 lane huge Roundabout with a couple of stop lights, 8 intersecting roads filled to the maximum number of cars, busses, double-decker busses, motorcycles, scooters, all going clockwise in a hurry. There seems to be no rhyme, reason or any conscious thought that went into designing this (Circle of Hell). I have spoken to several other expats that just simply drive a few miles out-of-the-way to avoid this cluster.If only we had the luxury of being able to avoid it like the others, but unfortunately we have to do go thru this swirling vortex of craziness to get home. Alright things went a bit better as we slowly spiraled downward from the parking garage, made a quick left and headed straight for the insaneness that was sure to happen. This time we had learned our lesson and left the navigation apps turned off as we didn’t need that added confusion. Besides we knew we had to go around Newton Circus, exit onto our street and then in a few hundred yards we would be in the comfort of our condos parking garage.
The traffic wasnt too bad as we approached. The light was red so we had the false hope comfort of being behind a few other cars so we could observe how they get around this thing. The light turned green and off we went, a break in traffic coming from the right side opened up as we crept out into the great unknown. Onward we went clockwise in a middle lane to approx half way through, then things went haywire. Traffic stopped and we were unfortunately in a yellow box! it’s a painted yellow square that is there to allow busses room to weave their way into the mix. I could feel my blood pressure spike as we were now half into and half out of this yellow box area.
Of course the other cars that we were following to learn from had already zoomed off in different directions than where we wanted to go, so now there we sat. I look to my left and see a huge city bus heading right for us, look to the right and see motorcycles zooming by barely missing our side mirrors. The car in front of us quickly sped off and I decided to get the heck out of the busses way. I’m pretty sure I just closed my eyes and let “Jesus Take The Wheel” thanks Carrie Underwood for that inspiration! we were swirling our way towards pay dirt as I could see our exit and were close to getting out of the whirlpool of death. Somehow we escaped without swapping paint with the other cars from the chaos of Newton Circus interchange.
Whew! We did it! now just down the road to our Condo and the safety of the parking garage. We still felt a little shaky but yet somewhat empowered by the fact that in the course of a Sunday morning we traveled at least 1 1/2 miles and had successfully driven for the first time in Singapore, without an accident.
In the weeks to follow we became more comfortable with our car & our surroundings so we were able to drive without so much drama. Flash forward 6 months and we can all have a good laugh about our 1st driving experience, don’t get me wrong, Newton Circus is an untamed beast and is still a formidable opponent.