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Old 11-10-2003, 02:32 PM
Gjorp is offline
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British Drivers are Insane


I took a trip to England a few months ago, many months ago. I noticed then how insane the drivers are. What triggered this thread was an episode of Monty Python where I noticed how insane these drivers are.

You people are insane. You drive in the middle of a city 60 miles per hour, on roads barely wider than your car! One of my relatives over there drives 75 mph, in the middle of London!

You drive on the right side of the road, UP HILLS!

You speed up to 20 mph to move one foot, then break 2 feet behind another car! And then, there are the ones who don't even wear seatbelts.

And please, tell me this is wrong. Is it actually part of the driving test to back up around a corner?

I hear you guys have a good healthcare system, though. Is that why you feel you can be so wreckless?

I don't know, this may be rant, but I'm not angry about anything. This may or may not belong in the pit. It just blows my mind how insane the drivers in England are.
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Old 11-10-2003, 03:16 PM
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Re: British Drivers are Insane


Are you sure you're not generalizing from your relative?

Wearing seat belts is the law. Only drivers of buses, taxis etc are exempt.
I've not seen anyone flout this.

The stop start nature of driving you described does seem fairly typical, though. Dunno why - I guess many drivers are pretty aggressive.
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Old 11-10-2003, 03:21 PM
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I'm not just generalizing just from my relative (btw, don't ask me how he's related, I have no clue), I also rode in buses and taxis.

But, you're right, I am generalizing.
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Old 11-10-2003, 03:44 PM
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London drivers are probably the most aggressive. Was this after the congestion charge was introduced? Possibly the opportunity to drive at more than 5mph went to his head.

True what you said about the driving test. Only into side roads, though. I guess the idea is it's better than doing a three point turn in a busy road.
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Old 11-10-2003, 10:09 PM
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One of the highlights of my trip to England was a taxi ride from the pub (the Bird in hand, Hilverston) back to Stafford.
I was drunk (Strongbow all night) and the Paki taxi driver was a nutball!, he was blasting down single carriageways lined with high bushes and careening into blind corners, IT WAS GREAT!, I thought I was going to die but it was more fun than any roller coaster I have ever been on.

It was a memory to last a lifetime!

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Old 11-11-2003, 03:32 AM
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Er... you haven't been to Boston, have you?

To be honest, when I'm visiting and the brother is driving, he scares me too... and he has an M3 (lucky bastard).

Dad's too old to scare me. I scare him by pressing buttons on the radio he's never noticed before instead.
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Old 11-11-2003, 06:38 AM
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Perhaps you should take a trip to Tehran or Tbilisi and then comment on driving in the UK.
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Old 11-11-2003, 06:47 AM
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I will accept that we are mad drivers over here - our only defence is that we aren't quite as mad as the Italians.

Turkey is the worst place I've seen so, people just drive on the side of the road that has shade!!

I was on a coach in Turkey driving up a mountain road that twisted and turned back and forth up the mountain when we came up behind a truck hauling logs. Coach driver decides to overtake the lorry bearing in mind we are only just about going faster so we go into the outside lane and crawl past going around at least 2 blind bends in the process. If anything had been coming down they would have been forced over the edge and off the mountain -- now thats scarey
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Old 11-11-2003, 06:48 AM
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The OP certainly isn't the way most British drivers drive. They're way too sedate for me. People actually stick to the speed limit, which freaks me out whenever I go back for a visit.

It's a fairly accurate description of Portuguese taxi drivers, and many drivers in Dublin, Ireland. Perhaps London minicab drivers are like this, but on the whole it's an inaccurate description.
Quote:
Originally posted by unclviny
Paki
This is a racist term of abuse in England - suggest you don't use it here.
  #10  
Old 11-11-2003, 07:05 AM
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You want insane? Go to India - if you can drive in India you can drive anywhere in the world.
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Old 11-11-2003, 07:12 AM
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I've lived and driven in both the US and the UK and I'd say the Brits are slightly more aggressive than the Yanks. My theory is that it is the round-abouts that cause it. You have to be fairly quick and commited to get into the gaps. You'd sit there all day waiting for what a typical US mid-westerner would consider a safe gap. This also leads to the Brits treating the accelerator and brake as on/off switches, there's no coasting for these folks!
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Old 11-11-2003, 07:24 AM
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The UK has the best road safety record in the EU and one of the best in the world. There was 6 road accident deaths per 100,000 polulation in 2000, compared to 15.2 in the US. Some adjustment would be required given the higher annual distance travelled by US drivers but the UK is usually cited as an example to follow in road safety policy formulation. Penalty points, aggressive use of speed cameras, ready access to data by police on the road etc. are all reasons for their good record. There may be some bad drivers but the overall picture is pretty positive.
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Old 11-11-2003, 08:29 AM
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Just out of curiosity, how icy and snowy do roads get in winter in the UK, anyway?
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Old 11-11-2003, 08:37 AM
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When I was flat hunting in London I can remember at least one occasion in which I sat in the back of the agents' car whimpering with my hands over my eyes because I was so terrified by the way he was driving.

I also remember being quite amazed, on my first visit there, to see these huge lorries filled with noxious chemicals barrelling down city streets.

So yeah, I tend to agree with the OP
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Old 11-11-2003, 08:59 AM
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Actually, the only time I've ever seen a road accident was when I was in London on vacation a bunch of years back. We were waiting at the bus stop when van slammed head-on into the back of a private car in the opposite junction. I didn't see what happened after because the bus had arrived .

Of course, we can't draw any conclusions from it. So, uh, I'll make like a taxi and blast my way out of here.
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Old 11-11-2003, 09:38 AM
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You're missing the point. Brits are just insane generally. Although we prefer to think of ourselves as eccentric.
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Old 11-11-2003, 09:41 AM
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If you want a chance to experience what it's like to cheat death, try Mexico City sometime. I was there with some other students in my Spanish class several years ago. I'll never forget those harrowing taxi rides. The drivers completely ignore the lane markings, and stopping at red lights is optional. How they managed to avoid crashing into each other was a feat I never understood. If everyone else and I drove here like they did in Mexico City our cars would look like they had just come out of a demolition derby.
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Old 11-11-2003, 02:54 PM
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You've clearly not seen Maltese drivers.

BTW, the reversing round a corner is indeed on the driving test, but it's always a very quiet corner on a residential road with no traffic about.
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Old 11-11-2003, 04:37 PM
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I vote Morocco as the scariest place to get a taxi, I genuinley could not see how we were getting through the gaps that Abdul was wanging his way through at 90mph in busy traffic on pothole riddled roads in a totally knackered Nissan Sunny all the time talking to me and looking at me over his shoulder.......i'm not a religous man but I believe Allah was keeping an eye on this man. On the difference between U.S and British drivers I have noticed that when I watch the Worlds Most Hilariousley Fatal Police Mishaps or whatever the particular show is called, the U.S drivers in chase footage seem to drive at a speed that most drivers in the U.K do all the time......
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Old 11-11-2003, 04:45 PM
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I listen to Virgin Radio on the web at work. Due to the time differrence I get to hear the afternoon traffice reports.

Every day I play a game with myself. I try to guess which road.(M1 M11 M3 etc) has the 'overturned lorry'. There is an overturned lorry almost every day.

It took a while for me to realize that a lorry is a large truck and not my sister.
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Old 11-11-2003, 05:23 PM
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I was not aware that Paki was derogatory, I hear it said all the time by British folks that I hang around with, my mistake.

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  #22  
Old 11-11-2003, 05:31 PM
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Oh yeah? Well try Los Angeles driving. It's insane. I hate living here.
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Old 11-11-2003, 05:58 PM
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Slight Hijack, but although I know the word 'Paki' is used as kind of derogatory by some in Britain, I don't understand why - its not like I get annoyed at being a called a 'Brit' and have also never seen an Australian get offended by 'Ozzie'. I also have a couple of Pakistani friends who refer to themselves as 'Pakis'. Surley its down to how you say/mean it?
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Old 11-11-2003, 06:03 PM
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Re: British Drivers are Insane


Quote:
Originally posted by Gjorp
I hear you guys have a good healthcare system, though. Is that why you feel you can be so wreckless?
This absolutley cracked me up......

American car passenger: 'good gawd man slow down, your driving like a goddamn maniac'

UK driver: 'Don't worry abaaat it guv' we've got a mint health service, its free an all! In fact I might ram that geezer deliberatley just to get me moneys worth'

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Old 11-11-2003, 06:11 PM
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I learned to drive in Los Angeles.

Washington DC is scarier, though: waaaaaaay too many cars in too small a space. Eek.

And around here people just go where they want, when they want, at any speed they want. It's insane.
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Old 11-12-2003, 04:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by WILLASS
Slight Hijack, but although I know the word 'Paki' is used as kind of derogatory by some in Britain, I don't understand why - its not like I get annoyed at being a called a 'Brit' and have also never seen an Australian get offended by 'Ozzie'. I also have a couple of Pakistani friends who refer to themselves as 'Pakis'. Surley its down to how you say/mean it?
Nope, it's down to its history. There's nothing inherently wrong with the word 'nigger', or 'Jap' - but they both have unpleasant historical connotations. Its misuse by racists (maybe the people unclviny were hanging out with?) in the UK means that they've disquaified the word from decent conversation.
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Old 11-12-2003, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by WILLASS
I also have a couple of Pakistani friends who refer to themselves as 'Pakis'. Surley its down to how you say/mean it?
I think its a similar situation as to in the States, and a certain "N" word. Its OK, if "we" say it to each other, but if an outsider says it, then its wrong.

However, were anyone to call me a "Paki", they'd lose my respect instantly, no matter which way they meant it (mainly because I'm Indian as opposed to Pakistani, but I find the term disgusting, derogatory, and reminscent of many many unpleasant scenes from my childhood).
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Old 11-12-2003, 06:28 AM
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I'll second Maltese and Moroccan driving as being very scary indeed.

On Gozo, 2 summers ago, irishfella was driving our little hire car up a large hill. We were behind a lorry and a family car. From nowhere a Vespa came from behind and overtook us, the car and the lorry, on a blind corner of this hill. This encouraged the driver of the car behind us, who attempted the same manoeuvre...a car turning out from a side road narrowly missed him. All the while, no angry shouting or horn blowing, everyone seemed quite calm and happy, and not at all perturbed by the craziness.

In Marrakesh, we had one driver taking us from our hostel to the train station. he drove at 70mph all the way, ignoring red lights, donkeys and horses, pdestrians and other drivers. Not the most relaxing ride, it has to be said.
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Old 11-12-2003, 07:05 AM
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I'm sorry - New Yoik cab drivers get my vote for the scariest drivers every time.
And if you think that the car drivers over here in sunny England are bad - you should watch the cyclists...
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Old 11-12-2003, 07:09 AM
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Worst car drivers ever exist in Pakistan (we have family out there - they moved from India at Partition). My mum's cousin has been known to drive the wrong way around a roundabout in rush hour Karachi traffic, because he wanted the 4th exit.

British cyclists are insane. They have no concept of the highway code, think that they own the pavements and will happily cycle the wrong way down one way streets, mow down pedestrians on pavements and pedestrianised areas, and are generally just crazy.
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Old 11-12-2003, 07:20 AM
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SJSB, ahhhh cycling in the UK, that brings back memories!

Before I moved over here I used to live in Birmingham and cycled into work along the Bristol Road (Angua should know that one!). Now THAT was an experience! Although I should note I was a 'well behaved' cyclist and didn't do any of things Angua mentioned (honest!). It's just the 'risking life and limb' aspect of cycling on the Bristol Road that was the experience.

grey_ideas
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Old 11-12-2003, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by grey_ideas


Before I moved over here I used to live in Birmingham and cycled into work along the Bristol Road (Angua should know that one!). Now THAT was an experience! Although I should note I was a 'well behaved' cyclist and didn't do any of things Angua mentioned (honest!). It's just the 'risking life and limb' aspect of cycling on the Bristol Road that was the experience.
*rocks in a corner, whimpering*

I spent 4 years at Cambridge - the cyclists there were mad. I was knocked over by one, concussed, and the dratted girl just sped off..
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Old 11-12-2003, 07:26 AM
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slortar asked about snow and ice. I live in the South and we rarely get more than an inch at a time, and it never lasts long. Last year we had a storm that dropped about 4 inches in a couple hours and the roads were chaos. Some people were stuck on motorways for more than 12 hours.
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Old 11-12-2003, 07:30 AM
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Quote:
*rocks in a corner, whimpering*
Oh you DO know it then!

Nothing like trying to dodge crazed West Midlands bus drivers first thing in the morning! No offence to those bus drivers, but leaving more than a few inches gap between me and your bus as you steamed by would have been appreciated

grey_ideas *now enjoying Denmarks nice, sedate cycle paths*
  #35  
Old 11-12-2003, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by grey_ideas
Oh you DO know it then!
Oh yes! You try being a pedestrian round there.
  #36  
Old 11-12-2003, 07:37 AM
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HAH! One thing that makes me laugh about living in the south is that if there's so much as a brief shower of sleet the whole bloody place comes to a standstill! Kids stay off school, no one goes to work, and eldery people start reminiscing about how they haven't seen weather like this since 1927. Up north we struggle on despite sleet, snow, ice, hail, rains of fire......I remember one occassion as a kid when the snow ploughs were on strike and it took me 3 hours to get to school, but I still went , damn it!

Oh, and it was actually the snow plough drivers that were on strike. Not the snow ploughs themselves. Although I hear their union is actually very good
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Old 11-12-2003, 08:07 AM
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I think the OP is way over the top, as posted earlier the UK has one of the worlds best road safety records.

I suspect the reactions to what you see are more to do with the road system in the UK. We have narrower roads which we are used to. Especially in the towns and cities we have fewer duel carriageways, let alone multi-lane highways. I think this goes together to make it all seem a lot more dangerous that it really is. You just need the driving skills and experience to cope with it - the first time I drove in the US it scared the hell out of me but I wouldn't suggest you were all crazy drivers.

My theory is that eventually you sort of know what all the other idiots are about to do before they do it, but you have to relearn that second-sight in every new country you drive in.

I have to say though that London driving experience has served me well out here so far. I am driving myself after only six weeks here, most expats use local drivers (probably to take the rap if anything happens). I WILL have a smash sometime in the next two years, I cannot see any other conclusion.

Their driving is quite simply the worst I have ever seem. The Portuguese influence is right at the top end of skillful driving here - and they have the worst road safety record in Europe - whilst the local simply have no idea what they are doing. Some of them can only be 12 years old - anything goes!! Ultra-defensive driving is the order of the day....

If they did gather stats though, my question would be, " Do you count security guards shooting attempted carjackers dead as a traffic death or not?" - if yes then you can add a good 10% to the death rate.
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Old 11-12-2003, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by kferr
slortar asked about snow and ice. I live in the South and we rarely get more than an inch at a time, and it never lasts long. Last year we had a storm that dropped about 4 inches in a couple hours and the roads were chaos. Some people were stuck on motorways for more than 12 hours.
Very interesting. It had occurred to me that the only time I hear anybody speak about British weather they just say something like "very wet" and change the subject.

I had this theory that a lack of a lengthy winter might account for the differences between our driving styles. Midwestern americans drive like grannies because 6 months out of the year we're driving on teflon.

Of course, it'll only be a few posts before a scandinavian or (worse) a canadian doper to drop in and call me a pussy for complaining about our short 6 month winters...
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Old 11-12-2003, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
HAH! One thing that makes me laugh about living in the south is that if there's so much as a brief shower of sleet the whole bloody place comes to a standstill! Kids stay off school, no one goes to work, and eldery people start reminiscing about how they haven't seen weather like this since 1927. Up north we struggle on despite sleet, snow, ice, hail, rains of fire.
Yeah well the weather's not exactly going to affect you down those bloody coal mines is it?

Although i'm guessing the dry-stone wallers get just as f*cked by the weather as us southerners do.


Quote:
Originally posted by Angua
Oh yes! You try being a pedestrian round there.
That was one of the few benefits of growing up in Stevenage. It was an absolute shite-hole (although not to Birmingham standards) but being a New Town it had outstanding cycle path networks.

In fact during a visit home in my first year of university i copped a lift off of a mate. After dropping me off i gave him directions to get back to the motorway and he headed off.

Later that week when i was back up in London we met up in the pub and he started moaning at me about how weird the roads are in Stevenage, how everyone kept giving him funny looks and how crap my directions were:

Me: (Defending my manly direction-giving skills): Mate, its easy - i told you go to the bottom of the road, turn left...

GariMate: Oh left! I went right!

Me: What?! There is no road on the right!

GariMate: Yeah there is! It leads under the roundabout and round by the town centre - comes up by the cop shop!

Me: Thats a cycle track!

GariMate: Really? Sh*t. That explains why the road was so small.
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Old 11-12-2003, 10:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by garius

That was one of the few benefits of growing up in Stevenage. It was an absolute shite-hole (although not to Birmingham standards) but being a New Town it had outstanding cycle path networks.
Oi! Brum's not that bad. They've completed it now. We have a giant shiny arae in the middle of Birmingham now.
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Old 11-12-2003, 10:10 AM
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Or even, a giant shiny ARSE!
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Old 11-12-2003, 10:19 AM
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I drove from Chicago to Grand Rapids Mi last year and thought it was a breeze. Great long freeways no turning just miles and miles and miles and miles and........zzzzzzzz
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Old 11-12-2003, 10:22 AM
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ANGUA: Brum not bad? Oh come on this has to be a wind up.
The fucking city is the pits man, ditto the football teams, ditto the accents, ditto the Bullring, ditto every fucking thing.....blech
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Old 11-12-2003, 10:32 AM
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i don't know... we did get a rather nice curry there.
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Old 11-12-2003, 10:35 AM
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I'll say London taxi drivers can be very scary!
(Not ALL, though)

Oh, and I second, third, and any other number the advice to avoid using "Paki" in the U.K. - the word does have a history of being used by racist scum, including those who will use it for *anyone* not white and blotchy-pink in skin tone.
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Old 11-12-2003, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by spogga
ANGUA: Brum not bad? Oh come on this has to be a wind up.
The fucking city is the pits man, ditto the football teams, ditto the accents, ditto the Bullring, ditto every fucking thing.....blech
Yeah, the football teams and accents leave a lot to be desired, but have you seen the new Bullring? Its rather impressive.

Oh, yeah, and you can get a really good curry here.

Brum. Home of the Balti.
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Old 11-12-2003, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by spogga
I drove from Chicago to Grand Rapids Mi last year and thought it was a breeze. Great long freeways no turning just miles and miles and miles and miles and........zzzzzzzz
Oh, that's nothing. When I visit the folks, who live in the Upper Peninsula, I drive right up the middle of Michigan, hit the Bridge and turn west. First leg to the bridge is about 300 miles, no turns (well, actually, there are...4 turns...up around Cadillac when you switch interstates...no joke--4 turns total in a 300 mile drive). That's about 4 or 5 hours all in one line at ca 130 kph...zzzz...
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