I have already mentioned several times that I don’t dare to drive in Puerto Rico (for example here and here). I definitely prefer taking the bus even if it can take up to 2½ hours to get to the mall (it would probably be quicker to walk if only I could figure out how to do that in a city without pavements everywhere…). However, everytime we go back to Europe, or just to the US, I realise that people don’t actually drive very fast in Puerto Rico! One of the reasons is probably that you can’t drive faster because of all the traffic! We never cease to be astonished by the amount of cars on the roads, at any time of the day or night…
So, it is not because of the speed that I don’t want to drive – it is rather how people drive in Puerto Rico, and the fact that I am not used to multiple lanes (in Sweden most of the motorways have two lanes, around San Juan the standard is 4-6 lanes!).
On Friday we were invited to a joint birthday and farewell party thrown by a Puerto Rican / Spanish couple; the girlfriend just had her birthday, the boyfriend is leaving [today] to work in New Jersey. I spent most of the evening talking to the English-speaking guest – an Indian guy. We had lots to talk about, and among other things he asked me if I drive in Puerto Rico… Nope! He told us that he is also very uncomfortable about driving here, despite coming from New Delhi!
What scares me the most about the traffic in Puerto Rico is the lack of respect for emergency vehicles! Today we were stuck in a traffic jam (not unusual) due to an accident on the motorway, and ambulances were trying to pass to the site of the accident… Since the emergency lane was completely packed with cars trying to pass the queues, the ambulances and tow trucks had to get through the traffic in the normal lanes – but nobody gave way to them. This scares the hell out of me – I wonder how many people die because they are not reached by ambulances, or not brought to the hospital quick enough due to selfish drivers*?? Neither O nor I have seen anything like it in Spain or Sweden where drivers always do everything possible to facilitate the access of emergency vehicles (and I think that you could get fined if you don’t!). How does it work in other countries??
Tomorrow morning we leave for New Jersey and I have been comparing weather – especially since the first TS** of the hurricane season, Ana and Bill are expected in the Caribbean. I hope that they don’t develop into hurricanes and slow down before landfall. The weather in NJ / NY is hot at the moment but there’s hot, and then there’s hot! I know that it can get very hot and humid as well in the NJ / NY area, but I still think that San Juan is a little warmer…
The current weather (according to Wunderground.com):
San Juan, PR: 35,1 degrees and 55% humidity
New Brunswick, NJ: 33,6 degrees and 36% humidity
It is actually surprisingly low humidity at the moment in San Juan, it is usually 60-80%… It will interesting to see how cool it gets in the night in New Jersey – in San Juan the day and evening temperatures don’t vary much.
Our street by sunset on Friday
*) Sorry if this post is critical towards Puerto Rican drivers, and I am not saying that everyone is behaving in this selfish way, but it is phenomenon that both O and I have seen too many times when driving on this island…
**) TS = Tropical Storm