Joy ride

We went bowling today! They just built a bowling alley in Sarbet (a half hour drive by contract taxi from where we live). It was fun; I haven’t been bowling in a long time, well since I left.

Afterwards we came out and were trying to find a taxi. There was a bunch of guys waiting around on the corner with motorbikes. I said to Kyle ‘I wonder if you can rent them’ not really thinking you could. Then a guy came up to me and asked if I wanted to rent one.

“How much? Cent en no?”

“16 per hour”

16 birr per hour, that’s about $1.30, seemed like a pretty good deal to me. The fact remained that I had never driven a motorcycle before.

“Don’t I need a license?” I asked.

“You don’t have license?”

“I have a Canadian drivers license…”

“There you go” he laughed.

I stood looking at the bike for several minutes, contemplating.

“I’ve never driven this kind of bike” I said, “You’ll have to show me. Can I just try it here?” I said pointing to the parking lot.

He seemed fine with that. I asked a few questions about how to shift etc. I’m sorry but as embarrassing as it is I had never driven a motorcycle and had no idea how to shift or anything. He got on the back and I got on and fired it up. When I lurched forwards into the dirt parking lot I did not even know how to shift up. I obviously didn’t have much choice but to learn fast though. What began as a ride through the parking lot ended up as an hour-long joy ride. We started on smaller rock and dirt roads as I figured out how to shift etc. Before I knew it I was turning on and off the highway, I still hadn’t figured out if I should be using the hand break or foot break or what combination, but who needs to stop on a highway right? Oh wait…

I did stall when he made me to a u-turn going down a steep hill on the highway, but hey it was my first time! Pretty soon I was shifting up and down no problem, turning onto all kinds of roads, signaling with my horn, passing taxis, bottoming out on speed bumps, and going in and out of traffic circles. I still have no idea what the rules of the road are for traffic circles here, everyone drives very aggressively and it is completely acceptable to cut people off. I’m sure they have some sort of code I’m just not aware of it.

Anyway it was a lot of fun. I had no helmet of course. It was a decent sized bike but only 120 cc, so a little more power would have been nice, but it was a good bike to learn on. The speedometer didn’t work so I had no idea how fast I was going, some glasses would have been nice though. Turns out he had actually meant 60 birr not 16, but it was still worth it. The adventure continues!