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Buenos Airies – extreme traffic

September 21, 2008

Buenos Airies is a wonderful and amazing city, full of contrast, a juxtaposition of rich and poor, beautiful and hideous, large and small and somehow it all seems to work, but it doesn’t work. The traffic is a case in point and I want to talk a little about the extreme conditions one finds here in downtown BA.

I am literally stuck in the city, and this is when I do a Ronnie Corbett and go off on a red herring and put my dagger into the useless bums at British Airways – or the bums who created their website – I made the decision to leave BA next week and return to Europe, where, as you may know, I live in France – oh la belle France! So I go on line to purchase a ticket from the dumb asses at British Airways – cool there’s a flight on Tuesday, they take me through the 5 steps of ticket reservation and then I get to the payment section. Out comes the trusty (we hope) credit card, numbers completed, expiry date and three digit code all done – cool, only thing remaining is my address.

Now I have a credit card with the address at my home in France – well those arrogant sons of dog shit at British Airways will not accept that anyone with a credit card might live outside of the UK and might want to buy a ticket. I literally am unable to purchase a ticket because my credit card’s address is outside of the UK.

Wake up you dumb asses – is the chief executive awake, I think his name is Bob Ayling, well Mr Ayling I can tell you and your long suffering share holders that with a moronic, xenophobic policy like this your company certainly will be AILING!

Huh – enough of my rant – I’m not too bothered, I’m sure Air France will do a better job (still there Mr Ayling?) – back to Buenos Airies and the traffic. Well if you don’t know your way around town on the bus system the easiest thing to do is hail a taxi – no problem there – they are ubique. That’s when the fun starts – two recent examples – I was going to a movie last night (which they assured me was going to be played in English, I asked them twice – and it was in Italian – OMG – poor Italians having their language muddled with English!), well neither the fuel gauge or oil pressure gauge were registering anything – no problem I thought, but my charming taxi driver would insist on talking to me – not by looking in the mirror, but by turning round in his seat and looking at me as we wove our way through the dense Buenos Airies traffic. I sat nervously in the back saying nothing as he explained where this embassy was and whose that embassy was and how he’d had some bloke from British Airways in his cab last week who had been raving about their new web site………..no I’m only joking Bob – but please do get your act together.

 The other occasion I wanted to recount was on Avenue Liberatador – well I think the word means something like liberation – let me tell you the taxis take it literally. It is a kind of big avenue, even for BA standards, I think there are 12 lanes – and so we set off, this taxi’s speedo was at least working and it steadily climbed to the 80s (kph), whilst this was going on we had moved from the inside lane to the outside lane all the while with the horn blaring and some waving of fists. Then I saw a sort of round about ahead, with a large statue of, I presume, a general on his horse, no doubt Guillmes or Belgrano – this is just what my cabbie had been waiting for – the excuse to drop a gear and put the foot to the floor – the needle carried on climbing, up to 100 – the lanes narrowed (to allow for the statue) and so the traffic was squeezed, not a jot of difference, the policy is to keep going, flat out! I think we peaked out at 110kph!

By this stage we were back on the inside lane and my driver had forgotten (I presume, although that may not be the case) that we had to turn left, with traffic lights ahead and turning from amber to red we pulled a ninety degree turn, warning lights falshing on the instrument panel, squeeling tyres, further reason to blast the horn and hey presto we arrived, the driver with a huge grin on his face – fun!

It is an experience but not for those of a nervous disposition, certainly extreme driving and in case you thought I was pulling a fast one one about the avenue sizes I found this YouTube video which talks of an even wider avenue – although the one they talk about on the vid has traffic going both ways – Liberatador is one way – thank goodness!!

Thanks iraethen for the video.

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