Posted by: puebloman | November 23, 2009

Better a few minutes late . . .

. . .than dead on time.

"Recuerdos de tus amigos" - your friends remember you. Spray-painted onto the Velez-Malaga bridge

Our villages are accessed by windy precipitous mountain roads, studded with an array of control signs – “watch the bend”, “mountain road, pay attention!”, “40 kms per hour” and so on. Theoretically two cars can pass but only of course if they are on opposite sides of the road. I suppose it’s only a matter of time ’til I pitch over a bend and into oblivion. Two years ago I took a bend wrong and slammed into one of those concrete blocks that line the outside edge of the road. It was near El Borge at “Rush Hour”. A queue of traffic quickly formed until half a dozen big men got out of their cars, picked mine up physically and placed it in a lay by. No one seemed to think my “incident” was in any way remarkable. The local policeman who eventually turned up told me that my offside tyre had blown and swung my car off the road.

Me: I was going very slowly you know. . .

He: Oh yes I know, If you’d been doing any speed you’d have gone straight over. These blocks are only really for show.

The roads get better each year. After heavy rain you can expect rock and rubble on the road, though good storm

"Recuerdos tus amigos" seen just before the bridge at Benamargosa

drains are now being channelled under the roads to take the brunt of the surface water. White lines now profile the road edge, and the road surfaces seem to be regularly maintained. However, death on the road here, though terrible and tragic is taken with a degree of philosophy, even fatality that we might find shocking.

Road matters are somewhat casual in the white villages. Kids have to get around and you can drive a small motorbike at 14. Whether you have any insurance may be another matter. The same applies with high premium quad bikes and suped up cars driven by young adults. Accidents often occur at bridges – the only straight stretch of road for miles. Although buses here are driven very safely and professionally, lorry driving is very inconsistent. Our friend recently had her car sliced down one side by a lorry who’d forgotten to put the support foot for his crane back before driving off. She was thankfully unharmed though the driver didn’t stop.

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