Tag Archives: transportation

Why do so many drivers never use their indicators these days?

I know I shouldn’t be annoyed at petty things in life but sometimes I wonder what people are thinking when they are driving. When I need to turn or change lanes, I don’t even have to think, my hand automatically moves to indicate my intention but I have lately seen so many drives turn or change lanes without the indicators. I don’t understand why drivers are so lazy that they can’t make the effort to flick a switch.

It can be laziness in their part but that is really serious as this can lead to accidents and even death in worse cases. The worst part is they are not putting only themselves in danger but others on the road as well.

Because of their laziness and selfishness there are times there is unnecessary traffic congestion on the road. Say if I am waiting to go straight on a two-lane road and the driver in front of me is going right but didn’t blink until the last minute, I won’t be able to change lanes in time and go straight on the left lane which means I am stuck behind him. On top of that the drivers behind me will be stuck as well as they can’t see the indicator in the car in front.

Another example is when I come to an intersection and I see a car on my right with no indicator, so I stop to give way to them, wait for them to pass through in front of me, they then turn left instead and I am left thinking that I stopped and gave way for no reason.

Also in a roundabout at least half the cars never signal right to turn right, which makes it extremely dangerous. I always wait until the car has gone through most of the intersection before proceeding, because I don’t know when they will suddenly turn and smash into me.

I have seen many drivers who come by and pass me and others, weaving through traffic without any indication. I am sure not so many people have an emergency on a regular basis so why the rush? What is wrong with these people?

If you know the answers to any of these questions please do share and please take care when you drive and do not forget to use your indicators when necessary.

‘The indicators on your car tell people where you are going… Please use them!’

Take care.

M from nepaliaustralian

XOXO

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From Sydney to Bangkok

The trip is going good so far. The flight to Sydney was 8 hours and 30 minutes and I rested well during the flight.

We got a window seat and the one next to it for our journey. When we checked in online the day before, we realised that the flight was quite full and we had someone next to us. We always wish to have a seat next to us empty so we can move freely but it had not happened for a while. So when the captain announced for the door to be closed, me and AS both were looking at each other delighted as there was no one next to us which meant that we got 3 seats to ourselves.

Sydney to Bangkok  (3)

As soon as we took off, we were served lunch. Most people complain about air plane food but I am OK with it. I know it is not great but they are not bad either. We choose to eat Thai chicken curry with rice.

Sydney to Bangkok  (4)

While having lunch, I watched the movie Bourne Legacy, which I had been thinking to watch for the while. Without Matt Demon, Bourne seems a bit weird but it was not bad.

When I finished the first movie, we still had almost 6 hours before landing. Even though we flew in the morning I was feeling very tired so I decided to sleep. Sometimes being small is an advantage as I could easily sleep on AS’s lap with my leg stretched over 2 seats. I couldn’t believe that I slept for almost 2 hours without waking up in between as it was really comfortable.

AS couldn’t sleep in the plane so he was still watching some movie when I woke up. After that I watched one more movie called Hope Spring. It was a bit slow but very educational for married people. I am glad it is too early for me and AS to be in that situation but I really hope we will be in better place in our relationship when we will be at that age married for more than 30 years. Do watch it when you get some time.

After the second movie it was only few hours before we were to land. We were served a light meal and it was noodles with prawn and some dessert. I really didn’t want to do anything else so I watched Just for Laughs for a while. I really love that show. Look at some of the great gags they have when you have time and I am sure it will make you laugh too.

Just behind our seats, there were 3 people travelling separately becoming fast friends. I know it is bad to eavesdrop but they were talking loudly so I could hear everything. One of the guy was 25, a woman 34 who is travelling international for the first time and an older man. It was nice to hear their conversation about each other and their travel plans :). They exchanged mobile numbers as well so they can hang out in Bangkok.

The flight was on time so we landed at 3pm Bangkok time. As soon as we came out of the gate, I could feel the Bangkok humidity. I was wearing my leggings and I was feeling really hot. I almost forgot how hot it was when we came here last time. Seriously even at that time, it was so hot that I had to run for the shade.

A bus took all of us to the terminal from the plane. From there we cleared immigration and took our bags were off to a taxi stand.

While waiting for our bags, I saw this sign at the Suvarnabhumi Airport which was very confusing for me. Would anyone voluntarily go via the red channel? Would you? 🙂

Sydney to Bangkok  (1)

It took almost an hour due to traffic for us to reach our hotel. We were booked at Chateau de Bangkok. We stayed at the same hotel last time and we loved it so we booked it again.

Once in the hotel, we checked in and were happy to rest for a few minutes before changing and going out to discover Bangkok all over again.

The room was nice and clean as I remembered from last time.

Sydney to Bangkok  (2)

I will post more from Bangkok and Kathmandu soon.

New rules for use of mobile phones while driving on Sydney roads

As I mentioned in my previous post here, I get really annoyed with drivers who are so careless on the road that they are putting themselves and others in danger. It is not fair that someone is careless and they take the life of some innocent road user or make them injured.

It is a common scene on the road to see a driver holding a mobile while driving. If I could issue fines to these people, I could have made lots of money for the government. Even though talking on a mobile phone while driving is not illegal in Australia, holding it is; but drivers hardly care about these rules until they see a cop car.

But things are changing now. They are making these rules very serious. From 1 November 2012, changes to NSW Road Rules have come into effect. These law changes primarily consist of minor amendments, clarifications and tightening of existing road rules.

Motorists will only be allowed to use a mobile phone while driving if the phone is fixed to a secure mounting or can be used without the driver having to touch any part of the phone. Here are the new rules that were effective from last week. Drivers cannot hold a phone in their hand, other than to pass it to a passenger, and can’t rest it on their legs or hold it between their shoulder and ear.

Provided the phone is mounted in a commercially designed and manufactured cradle, fully-licensed drivers can press buttons on the phone for the purpose to make a call, use GPS systems or listen to music.

Texting and emailing while driving, whether the phone is mounted or not, remains illegal.

I am so glad they are taking things seriously and hope this will help save lots of innocent lives on the road.

Rule states from Roads and Maritime Services’s Centre as below

Use of mobile phones

While a vehicle is moving or stationary (but not parked), a driver may only use a mobile phone to make or receive a call or use the audio playing function:

1.         If the mobile phone is secured in a fixed mounting; or

2.         If not in a mounting, use of the mobile phone must not require a driver to touch or manipulate the phone in any way.

All other functions including texting, video messaging, online chatting, reading preview messages and emailing are prohibited.

The new laws make it clear that a driver in a moving or stationary vehicle (unless parked) MUST NOT HOLD a phone in his or her hand other than to pass the phone to a passenger.

Penalty: 3 demerit points (4 in a school zone) and $298 ($397 in a school zone)

NOTE: Learner and Provisional P1 drivers are not allowed to use ANY function of a phone (including hands-free) while driving.

Police and emergency services vehicles

Police and emergency service drivers may continue to use mobile data terminals in the course of their work to receive job allocations, licensing, registration and other important information.

Visual display units in motor vehicles

A visual display unit (including a mobile phone), which is being used as a driver’s aid function, such as a GPS, may only be used in a motor vehicle if it is secured in a fixed mounting. This mounting must be commercially designed and manufactured for this purpose. It must be positioned in the vehicle to not distract or obscure the driver’s view.

Penalty: 3 demerit points (4 in a school zone) and $298 ($397 in a school zone)

Traffic chaos around the world

When I think about traffic, I think there is no way the traffic can be as bad anywhere else as in Asia like in Kathmandu, Bangkok, India, Vietnam , Hong Kong, etc. but in the past few months I have been surprised that in Europe, the traffic is worse than in Nepal.

I know Kathmandu has more cars on the road than the road can handle. To cross the bridge from Kupondole to Thapathali, it can take you an hour but believe me that is not as bad as what I saw while touring around the world.

While I was in India, I asked the driver why his car’s side mirrors were closed. He said, it will get scratched (by other cars) if it is opened so he left it closed. Imagine my horror to be in that car for weeks knowing he doesn’t even have side mirrors in use. I was definitely scared about my and my parents’ safety. But after a few hours on the road, I realised that not only the car we were on that had its side mirror closed but every vehicle on the road was using the same trick.

Then I got to experience tuk tuk in Bangkok and I will tell you it is not a great experience that I will cherish. There are so many cars and tuk tuks in Bangkok along with motor cycles and bicycles that you wish you were not sitting in an open vehicle in the summer heat stuck in traffic.

It was the same story in Vietnam with the traffic but in Vietnam we had booked air conditioned car which made our journey bearable. I couldn’t imagine being on a non AC car for 4-5 hours in the summer heat.

But there is one thing common in all these places I have mentioned above. They all have narrow roads with too many vehicles on the road and traffic chaos along with very slow traffic like 40km/hr.

In US, the traffic seems to fine expect in New York. In New York, cars were not even stopping for pedestrians on the pedestrian crossing even when the crossings are so big that you could see it easily from 100 meters away. In other parts of US, they have very wide roads and I really loved their freeway with their exit numbers. Even in peak hours most of the roads seem to cope a lot better than in Asian countries.

My perspective of traffics changed when I landed in Europe for my last holiday. I took a bus tour around Europe but in England we did our own driving.  I drove a very small car for a couple of days and was shocked to see narrow roads everywhere. The good thing was that at least everyone was following the traffic rules so things were under control. While in Germany, we were on a no limit highway where there is no speed limit for cars and we could see that cars were zooming away in front of us. Funnily enough these types of highways are the one that have the least accidents.

Anyway travelling around Europe, everyone told us that wait till you get to Italy and you will realise what crazy traffic is. In my mind I was thinking, I am sure I have seen crazier traffic in Asia.

But the day we reached Italy, Italian drivers proved me wrong. OMG Italian traffic is a real example of chaos. Especially in Rome, there is no room for error. People were driver cars as if they were walking so there were no signals and they were driving the car wherever they can fit it into. And the worst thing is the roads are very small. On top of it, vehicles are parked on both sides of the road. In one occasion, our tourist bus had to reverse almost 500 meters in a tiny road because the place we were supposed to turn right at had a car parked on the corner making it impossible for bus to turn into the road. There was no other option but to return in reverse. I really believe that Italians are really good drivers after driving on those roads for years.

When we left Italy, I thought I had seen the worst traffic in my life but oho boy, how wrong was I. As soon as we entered Paris, I saw more extreme traffic chaos. The freeway we entered in Paris was so busy that we were crawling. The guide was telling us that our hotel was only 15 minutes away but it took us almost an hour to get there. I saw a bike colliding with a car just in front of us as well. Also one of the days we were there, I noticed the main city roads had no white marking so we didn’t know how many lanes it had. To top all this, motor bikes and scooters were everywhere squeezing in wherever they can.

I am sure I still haven’t been to any places like China and Mexico to see more chaos that traffic causes but I am glad I went around at least to these places because it made me realise that we definitely are in a better place in Australia. Next time when I am stuck in traffic, I won’t get frustrated as I have seen worse. I really appreciate the roads and rules we follow in Sydney. I guess all the people who whinge about Sydney’s roads and traffic need to have a round trip to Asia as well as Europe to appreciate how good we are compared to there. I know there are better roads in the world but definitely we don’t have one of the worst ones.

Safe driving everyone!!! Remember no life is worth reaching 5 minutes quicker to any places.

Learn Nepal Bhasa / Newari – Chapter 13

Please click here for previous chapters.

English Nepal Basa
Is this Durbar Square? Laay-kuu tha-na khak laa?
What is the name of this place? Thwa thaay-yaa naa chhu khak?
How do I get to ____________? _______gu-khee wa-ne-gu?
Go down this way Thu-khee jhaa-saa
Is it that way? U-khee khak laa?
Is it far? Taa-paah la?
We went to go by taxi Ji-pin taxii wa-ne-gu.
Is there a bus to Kathmandu? Yee wa-ne-gu bas du laa?
When does it arrive? Ga-ba-le-wa-i?
Where does it stop? Ga-na di-ki-i?
Please take me there. Ji-tah a-na-ta-ka-yaa-bi-yaa di-saa

Nepal doesn’t need to change, we do

This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in  July-Aug 2012 issue.   

Even though we are away from home, most of us are very passionate about our motherland NEPAL and we have a long list of things we think Nepal needs to change in order to make it better for the future.  We are very happy to jump into any conversation on what is wrong in Nepal and never far behind when voicing our opinion about how Nepali politicians are so wrong.  If I asked you to tell me one thing you would change in Nepal if you were in power for a day, I am sure, you would join the bandwagon of people who have dreamed to turn Nepal into Switzerland.

We all know that Nepal has failed to make a permanent constitution since 2007 and all the delay has not helped our pessimistic attitude towards Nepal. The decade long civil war, the bandhs, and the corruption in the government are not only making us disappointed but strengthening the idea in our head that Nepal definitely needs to change.

I am sure most of us remember Nepal as the only Hindu kingdom in the world and a country which could attract tourists from around the world with her natural beauty and peace. Then in a blink of the eyes, things changed dramatically. First, the Maoist civil war killed thousands of our brothers and sisters followed by the Royal massacre which killed our beloved King, Queen and princes along with many other royal family members and then the unstable governments that haven’t been able to agree upon a constitution even after 5 long years.

It is 2012 now and things seem to be going downhill in Nepal. The tourism industry is one of the main sources of foreign currency in Nepal and provides many people with employment. Once the world’s most sought-after destinations for tourism; Nepal has lost millions of dollars in income from the tourism industry due to the headlines around the world about its bandhs and the negative publicity. I have a few friends around me who have always wanted to visit Nepal but they fear to travel there due to the fear for their own safety.

Government websites like http://www.smartraveller.gov.au in Australia has a warning for Australian citizens who wish to visit Nepal. They state

  • We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in Nepal due to the uncertain political and security situation.
  • There have been violent incidents, including bomb attacks, at crowded locations and on public transport throughout the country.
  • Shortages of essential supplies (food, water, fuel, gas and kerosene for cooking) can occur with limited notice.
  • Black out (or load shedding) periods can have a significant impact on services, including in major tourist destinations. Crimes against foreigners, including tourists, such as assault and theft occur in Nepal due to the poor law and order situation.
  • Illegal roadblocks and enforced national or local strikes (bandhs) often occur without notice and may continue for lengthy periods resulting in the closure of businesses and vehicles not being allowed on the roads. At these times, access to the airport can be disrupted and taxis are not usually available.

If you are a tourist who is looking for a relaxing holiday away from home, would you choose a country which has so many problems? I definitely wouldn’t. I am not blaming smartraveller, as they have stated everything correctly in their website and are doing a great job of making the citizen of Australia aware about the real situation in Nepal.

This brings me to my point why there is still nothing wrong with Nepal. Nepal is still a very beautiful country and I still say this after I have seen a lot of countries around the world that attract tourist in the millions. The only problem right now is that we, the Nepali people, don’t appreciate her as much as we should.

Deforestation and land degradation is one of the biggest environmental problems in Nepal and people are responsible for that, not the country. There has been a loss of huge forest area which has resulted in floods, soil erosion, and stagnant agricultural output. At the same time population growth and improper use of agro-chemicals hasn’t help the environment either.

Political instability has become a huge problem for the country. The politicians need to realise that it is easy to say that they will make Nepal into Switzerland in a certain number of years but they have never paused to think how Switzerland became such great country. They fought so long and hard to established democracy in the country but they are fighting over power and money now when the country needs them most. While I was in Switzerland, I could imagine that if the infrastructure in Nepal, like better roads, could be developed then Nepal too could attract tourists like Switzerland. The thing we, the people, and also the politicians should understand is that there is no quick and easy way to success.

It is the country’s citizens who decide what the country will be like, for better or for worse and we as Nepalis seem to have followed the wrong path for a while now. Let me give you an example.  Most people heard that If you spit in the streets of Singapore, you will be fined by the cops”. While on holiday in Singapore, I took a bus tour of the city and we had a Singaporean guide.  She was so passionate about her country that she made sure that the tourists in the bus followed all the rules while travelling with them; like not leaving the empty coffee or juice cups on the side of the road or no chewing gums as they are banned in Singapore. She was there enforcing all the rules that we normally expect cops to enforce. If every Singaporean has that attitude and love towards their country then definitely the country will prosper.

Now I ask you “Have you followed all the rules while you were in Nepal or enforced them on others?” If your answer is no then it is definitely time for us to change and take the responsibility of the country and guide it in the right direction. Many Nepalese who would never throw rubbish on the road or dare to break a traffic rule abroad will do it in Nepal without a second thought.

I just want to ask you a few simple questions:

Have you paid money to get your license?

Have you bribed government officials to expedite your work?

Have you bribed a traffic officer when he caught you doing an illegal U turn or speeding?

Have you bribed an airport official to take extra weight illegally or used someone with influence to make it happen? (Most of us going abroad are guilty of this one.)

There are many similar questions that I can ask but I’m sure you got my point. Be honest with yourself because your excuses are not good enough and you are contributing to the corruption in Nepal. You complain about the corruption and bad politicians of Nepal but when it comes to benefits for yourself, you don’t hesitate to bribe your way out. How can you be such a hypocrite? The worst part is that you would never do that in Australia, America or UK. You don’t hesitate in Nepal because you are confident that you can get away with it. I am not saying that I am a perfect citizen and I know most of are not but all of us need to change.

You might argue it is easy to maintain a country that is already in a good state but difficult to improve a country if it is in a bad state. I do agree with that but consider my previous example of Singapore. In the past Singapore had a big civil war between their Chinese, Indian and Malay citizens due to the difference in language, religion and culture but they rose above all those problems and came up with a solution to improve the country. Now they have four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay, and Tamil. They celebrate every religion and have holidays for the Chinese New Year, Vesak Day, Deepavali, Hari Raya Haji (Eid) and Christmas as well. They are one of the most prosperous countries in the world now.

So there definitely is a solution to every problem and we, the Nepali people, have to see it and work towards it.

The next time you think Nepal needs to change, pause for a moment and think what you can do to make that change? Instead of gossiping about our politicians and their wrong doings, let’s start with something small around us that we can improve. As each brick added makes a house stronger, every improvement that we make, makes the country better. We need to make everyone around us aware that a country is made up of its citizens and they can make or break the country. Let’s take responsibility of our own actions and not blame others for the state of the country. If the government is doing something wrong, we need to understand that they too are Nepali citizens and we have the power to make or break the government too. I am sure we all have learnt that from our experience of democracy until now. We do not depend on people who govern the country, they depend on us.

Let’s all set realistic goals and contribute whatever we can for the betterment of Nepal.

Incident, not ACCIDENT, Thank God!

You know how I was telling about me being accident prone in my last post and worried that things might get worse. So, I was extra careful all these days taking advice from all of you (Thanks everyone BTW). But then I can’t help it when someone else makes a mistake.

Yesterday, I was booked to get a massage at 6.00pm. So I left home at 4.30pm as I had to go through peak hour traffic. The time to travel to this place is normally 40 to 45 minutes from home but I thought I better leave early just in case.  And unfortunately, the traffic was so bad that it was 5.25pm and I was still on the highway. I was going so slow like 10km/hr that my GPS asked me twice if I want to switched to pedestrian mode. I was just hoping that I would be able to make it on time. I was looking at so many cars in front of me and hundreds behind me as well. There was no escape. As I was scanning the road and crawling through the traffic I looked at my rear view mirror. I saw the driver behind me and he was talking to someone in another car on the next lane while his car was still rolling. I knew even before he hit me that he was going to hit me but I couldn’t do anything. There was hardly any room in front of me to move. I felt so helpless. Then I just heard a BANG.

For a few second I was just shocked and I couldn’t do anything. My hands were shaking. I haven’t had an accident for a long time (touch wood). The only one I was in was a while back and I had to write off my car then.

For a while I was in a confused state but then I gained my composure, took my mobile and went out to see the damage. It was a bit dark already and the other driver was still in his car. I am not too sure what he was expecting or maybe he was in shock as well.

I was so proud of myself when I realised that I needed to take the photo of the other car and its rego if he decided to do a runner (the traffic was so bad even he wanted to, he couldn’t but I have heard about it so many times that I need to be smart). So I took the photo of the registration of the car first (thanks to smart phones these days). Also on the back of my mind I knew I was running late for my appointment for the massage which I might I have to cancel. Anyway I started assessing the damage on my car and to my surprise I couldn’t see even a scratch. It was a bit dark so I was not sure what to do and we were on the middle lane in the highway. We were holding up the already crawling traffic.

Finally the other driver came out of his car. He checked what had happened and apologised blaming the other driver who was distracting him for the accident. He was relieved that there was no damage.

Just to be safe in case I wasn’t seeing anything due to darkness, I asked if I can have his licence number or phone number. He was a bit hesitant. I told him I would not call him if things are ok but I just wanted to be sure nothing falls off while I drive home.  He said, “You can see nothing has happened” and tried not to provide his details. I told him I won’t contact him if there was no problems. I am sure he thought I was such a pain in the a** for asking his details when clearly he could see that no damage was done. I just wanted to be safe than sorry later so didn’t really care that he was annoyed. Anyway I pushed him harder and said I can wait for the cops to come or he can give me his details and we can go our own ways. So finally he gave me his mobile number.

While I was typing his number on my phone I decided to call the number right then to make sure he had given me the right number. I was glad when his phone started ringing. Finally we both got back to our car and were on our way. I am so glad there was so much traffic that we were literally crawling on the highway that even though the car hit mine, I was fine and so was my car.

I checked my car again in day light today and nothing was damaged . I am so glad that I don’t have to chase anyone up to fix my car. Also I made the appointment for my massage. I was in front of the shop by 6.05pm where my hubby was waiting for me. It was so great to get the massage after the whole ordeal and my 14km run on Sunday.  I am just happy that it turned out to be an incident only, not an ACCIDENT. I thank God for looking after me.