Getting around can often be quaint, quirky, unusual, downright dangerous at times, luxurious or even surprising.
Hurtling round the streets of New Dehli at breakneck speed in a three-wheeled tuk-tuk, riding on the roof of an Indian bus, hanging on for dear life to the outside of an irregular Dominican Republic taxi, travelling in the back of a Burmese truck carrying both passengers and livestock and driving on narrow, winding roads(?) through the Atlas mountains readily spring to mind.
On the quirky side, taxi rides in The Gambia are worthy of a mention.
The distinctive yellow and green taxis tend to be old Mercs, very old E Class Mercs. Cheap to buy, inexpensive to maintain and rugged, what more could you ask? They still work – testament to good old German technology – and get you from A to B, usually.
They do have to suffer some extreme roads, if you can call them that. A couple of tarmacked roads, a few fairly level dirt tracks – until the rains come – and endless potholed tracks. When I say potholed, I mean I have seen shallower bomb craters.
The seats are comfy, very comfy in fact, but they need to be with the general state of the suspension. But it gets you there. Speedo, indicators, wipers and gauges of one sort or another tend not to work, the only guarantee is that the radio will work. But it gets you there.
On one occasion as we headed down a village ‘road’, there was a huge clunk and there in the middle of the track was the entire exhaust system. Out we got and for the next twenty minutes sat chatting to some locals outside whose home we’d broken down. I assumed that the driver had summoned assistance and that the excursion had reached a premature conclusion.
No problem, though, just let it cool down a bit and shove it in the boot and carry on. We then managed the enormous distance of about ten metres before there was an enormous jolt as the front wheel plunged into a huge crater and punctured the tyre. Out we got again and rejoined the bemused local family for another, lengthier chat and a drink.
But it got us there.