Friday, September 25, 2009

The Many Meanings of Moto Horns

{{Tantas cosas que contar}}

Motos are little taxis that you can take anywhere in Urubamba for 1 sol. They (along with everyone in Peru) drive like complete maniacs (we've decided that every Peruvian driver drives like a 16-year-old), weaving in and out among other motos, cars, bikes, and pedestrians without hardly touching the brake. You think that they might be slightly cautious on some of Urubamba's crowded streets, especially during market days, but you are actually the one who needs to watch out for them.

Motos--and truly all Peruvian vehicles, but motos are the worst--use their horn for every possile reason, often instead of using their brake. Here are a few examples of moto-horn-use:

-Signifies that they are at an intersection and are not slowing down (the one time I was in a moto that stopped at an intersection, I thought the driver might be sick or something. They just don't do that)

-Signifies that they are empty and they're wondering if you need a ride

-An annoncement that they are bearing down on you, so hop out of the way quickly

-A warning to other cars and people that they exist

-An impatient way to tell other cars and motos to get a move on

-Signifies that they are getting in the opposite lane to pass someone who is a) driving too slowly, b) parked or getting passengers, c) stuck in traffic, d) just in the way of their crazed path through the city

-An annoyed remark to someone who didn't get out of the way fast enough and forced them to move over a little from their pre-determined path

-Signifies that, if you're trying to flag one for a ride, they already have a passenger

Those are the main ones I can think of; I think that to be a moto driver you have to pass a test in horn-significance-recognition or something!!

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