Don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before but we went to St. Thomas on vacation last month.
It was divine. If I hadn’t missed my dogs I would have stayed there forever. Paradise.
Except for one thing.
So way back in the day the British once controlled St. Thomas. So the practice of driving on the left side of the road was adopted. I’m guessing the French never occupied St. Thomas after that (not really up on my St. Thomas history) and everyone was just used to it by the time the Americans showed up so the practice still remains today.
History sidenote: the practice of driving on the left side goes back to horseback and the carrying of swords. Since the majority of the population was right handed and carried their sword on their left hip it made sense for them to ride on the left side of the road. Easier to chop a dude’s head off and such.
The French however had this dude Napoleon who was left handed and decided that the right was better. Plus French Revolution blah blah blah- the French drove/rode on the right.
Given France’s influence in early America plus our proclivity for driving big ass wagons every where (in which it was easier to control the reigns of the horses from the back left so you could use your right hand), America drives on the right.
Back to St. Thomas.
Before we arrived in St. Thomas I hadn’t even given the driving conditions a moments pause. I wasn’t driving so I didn’t really care.
Then we got in the van at the airport.
So even though St. Thomas (and I’m going out on a limb and suggesting all the USVI but I really have no idea) road rules dictate driving on the left, they still get their cars from America. Which means they sit on the left as well.
Thank the heavenly stars above that we did not decide to rent a car. I’m having heart palpitations just thinking about it.
Oh and add in the roads of St. Thomas- being an island it is very hilly/mountainous and the roads are basically just one blind turn after another. Add in the fact you can’t even begin to see anything around the turn because you are on the wrong side of the car and sweet mother of god my blood pressure is rising just thinking about it.
Back to the airport.
I get into this van and notice the left side drivers seat and the left side of the road and think, “wow this is really different and at times rather frightening.” Little did I know that later on in the week we would get into a truck that has been rigged with seats in the bed to fashion a taxi bus and would drive at relatively breakneck speeds, moments away from a certain death into the side of a hill or off the edge of a cliff like structure.
And throughout it all sang Bob Marley (which I understand it is a Caribbean island and everyone loves Bob Marley (apparently), I mean who doesn’t love Bob Marley, but still- is there NO ONE ELSE you can listen to? Not a single other person?) with his reassuring words of “Don’t worry about a thing, because everything is going to be all right.”
No Bob. It isn’t. When this jalopy I’m riding in careens into the ocean because the driver took a blind turn just a little too fast and there was a chicken blocking his path in the road and he swerved to not hit the chicken because he is a card carrying member of PETA…
EVERYTHING IS NOT GOING TO BE ALL RIGHT BOB!