There are many articles on keeping yourself safe when travelling in a developing country but I want share some of the things I have learned about safety from these wonderful places!
Things I have learnt about using a motorbike –
- you can get 3 or sometimes 4 people on one
- as a woman (and you are not the driver), you ride sideways
- helmets are optional, if you have one, the driver wears it
- if you can physically ride it, you are old enough
- riding and texting is acceptable
- if you are riding with a toddler onboard, just ensure you have one arm around it for safety
It also ok to overtake at any time, oncoming traffic, blind turn, no problem. Just use your horn to let other motorists know you are there. As a western tourist, just close your eyes and hope you have good travel insurance.
When crossing the road as a pedestrian, just ignore the pedestrian crossing. In some countries, these are purely for the tourists and the locals aren’t aware of them. Just wait for a slight pause in the traffic as it rushes by you, say a prayer to the god of your choice and walk slowly and steadily across the road. The traffic will just part around you. The adrenalin rush of making it alive to the otherside is amazing!
I especially like the fire protection devices, as shown below from a museum in India. Just choose a bucket of water or sand to throw at the fire – choose carefully as you don’t want to ruin the art work and antiques.
When travelling by boat (or ferry in this case), don’t worry that the driver can’t see where he’s going, he usually has an assistant to tell him when he’s about to hit another object, such as another boat or the bank.
Looks safe to me!
Wishing you happy and safe travels in 2014!