In a previous post, I mentioned that the roads here are bad. But it’s not just the roads, it’s the other drivers that make navigating the island an exercise in facing your fears.
Case in point – within the first week of arriving, we had a (thankfully mild) run-in with another vehicle.
It was the day my sister and I arrived with my two cats. She had been here all of about two hours, and we were going to dinner in Road Town. There are two ways you can get down the mountain from our apartment, and both involve steep declines (because you’re going down a mountain), narrow roads, and sharp curves. But one route is a bit worse than the other. We were taking the worse of the two options, because at that time, we didn’t know any better. And it was night.
So we’re going down the road, and one of the oncoming cars is obviously in our lane (if there were actual lanes on the roads, but that’s another issue).
*Did I mention that you drive on the left here? The cars are American-style left hand drive, but you’re on the wrong side of the road, which puts the passenger sides of the cars in the center of the road. So when you’re the passenger, oncoming traffic is coming directly toward you, not the driver.
As the headlights came closer, it was apparent this car was not getting over to his side of the road, so I did what any rational person would do. I closed my eyes and screamed. I heard a slight crash, and when I opened my eyes, there was a mirror in my lap!
The other driver had clipped our side mirror, which popped the glass part out. Thankfully, I had my window rolled down, and the glass mirror landed squarely in my lap, broken, but salvaged. I still can’t believe I “caught” that mirror!
The rest of the night was a little tense, to say the least, since Bill felt bad about getting the rental car damaged (although there was little he could have done, short of running into the side of the mountain), and I was not looking forward to dealing with the credit card and rental car companies over this little incident, which would probably cost a fortune to get resolved. But an inquiry the next day at a local auto parts store put us in touch with a glass shop. One day and $50 later, we picked up the replacement glass and popped it back into the mirror assembly, with the rental company none the wiser.
Bill’s theory is that when the Jeep gets here, we’ll get more respect on the roads, since it’s big and has these massive, after-market bumpers on it. My theory is that I’d do just fine in a Mini-Cooper. Or a Smart car. Or maybe a golf cart. I’ll take the smallest thing that can make it up the mountain.