Wednesday, January 2, 2013

On Dune Buggies, Motorbikes, and the Yellow Submarine

“Mommy, why are there handles inside the car?” I bounced in the back seat of our Toyota and stretched up to hang on the protruding handle above the door.

“Because sometimes you might need to hang onto them, or help you get in the car,” she answered patiently (if not a bit absently) as she watched road sides and navigated towards the grocery store.

I was not satisfied. To my seven-year-old mind , it really made no sense why anyone at all would need a handle to climb into a car…I mean, they aren’t that difficult to enter! And as far as needing to hang onto them…well, that was just rubbish. We were strapped in, for goodness sakes, and the potholes weren’t that bumpy. I had, however, seen them used to hang clothes on to prevent wrinkling when we were travelling to Grandma’s…maybe that was their true calling? And, with that unequivocable logic, I turned back to staring out the window.

Oh the blissful ignorance of youth!

Handles inside the car, are, in my opinion, one of the most useful inventions that could have been added to improve comfort and security. Contrary to my early beliefs, they are invaluable for climbing into a vehicle (that happens to be jacked high off the ground, while you’re dressed in a skirt that drops well past your knees) as well as to maintaining an upright position while jouncing and bouncing and lurching and sliding and bumping down the road (regardless of wearing a seatbelt).

Yup, I’m a big fan of handles.

The assortment of vehicles driving around Ukarumpa roads is a strange and motley crew that have been shipped in or dredged up or patched together in ways that might give Henry Ford a run for his money. Most of these never find themselves off centre, but they faithfully provide for our transportation needs. Of course, you’ve already met the singles’ van in a previous post, so I’ve pulled together a few more of the strangest contraptions for your enjoyment!

Meet the ancient, put-putting, rusted-through, pretty awesome "Powered By Coconuts" truck!

Dune buggies aren't just for deserts...they work great on the hills of this tropical country!

Come one, come all, and pile into the Japanese Firetruck of Amazingness (those are indeed seats in the back)!

Haul your groceries home in style in your fancy cargo attachment for your four-wheeler!

Behold! The Sports Car of Ukarumpa! The first time I saw this (only recently imported), I did a double-take, and then merely gave into staring. These cars don't exist here... it's like...from the future!

This is not just any tuktuk, but it's the valiant steed of Ukarumpa's resident Knight in Shining Armor (or with a shining toolbox), David Smith!

This van claims it's the "Coolest Car in Ukarumpa." What do you think--does the Yellow Submarine top them all?

And last, but not least, is my fabulous roommate and her loyal canine heading off to a meeting on our hardworking little motorbike (which I'm still attempting to learn to drive...).

And then, when all else fails, there's what the rest of us do...and use our own two feet. Happy traveling!