Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Traffic

It’s a nightmare. Since our mission has changed we’ve had to go drive through the mean streets of Baghdad. I liked it before when we were in the outskirts, where there was hardly any traffic and more farmland. Trying to get traffic to pull over in the streets is a nightmare. They don’t do like in America where then pull over to the side of the road and stop their vehicles. Oh no, not here. When they hear a siren here it means go faster and try not to get pulled over. There’s only one way to get these people to stop and that’s a method I’m not allowed to use. I mean firing a warning shot right past them. I’m sure they’d hit the breaks real quick.

The streets are really narrow as well. I’m not used to riding on narrow streets. I’m used to the west where the streets are wide and straight for miles, unlike the east coast. Oh but that traffic. They just don’t pull over, which makes it worse. They’ll all drive forward and began to bottleneck when the road either comes to an intersection or there’s a checkpoint. I just wish there was some other way to make them stop. They know they’re always supposed to yield to military vehicles.

We almost got lost a couple times too. It happens all the time, especially when driving in new territory. It happens to anyone driving in a part of a city they’ve never been to before. At least this time we only took one wrong turn. We almost went over a bridge, crossing the Tigris River, to a bad part of Baghdad. I’ve even heard stories back home on the news a couple of years ago about how the Marines had to hold the bridge as a stronghold. I knew this was the bridge in reference to.

On the way back to our camp one of the Humvees got into a collision with a civilian vehicle. The Humvee was in front of us when it was crossing the traffic circle, going straight. Suddenly, out of nowhere, this car starts crossing from the left at a high rate of speed. I watched the car go right into the intersection, as the gunner was looking right at it. Then, all of a sudden, it clips the right rear of the Humvee real hard and the rear of the car comes a little off the ground. I knew nothing was going to happen to the Humvee because these things are built tough and the weight could handle that little car.

The Humvee that got hit started to keep going before they stopped. When talking with the guys inside they said it didn’t even feel like they got hit. They thought they ran a dog over or something. The guys that ran into them totally lost the front left end of their car and their bumper was lying on the road, off the vehicle. They totally messed up that car. They appeared alright when it happened because they got out and started swearing, cursing, and waving their hands. They were looking at me like it was my fault. That’s what they get for speeding through an intersection. I don’t know what was wrong with that guy but I saw the whole thing and he was totally at fault. I just wish we were recording it like we usually do with everything. Again, another missed opportunity.

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