Never, never, NEVER make any assumptions here, such as that:
1. Sidewalks are meant for pedestrians and sometimes bikes. Expect to walk down a regular sidewalk, only to suddenly hear a loud honk behind you as a car comes bearing down seeking out a parking space between the sidewalk and the walls of buildings where they randomly parallel park.
2. A green light means it’s your turn to walk or bike across. Wait for at least 10 more cars to pass, then a large city bus to come careening around the curve honking loudly all the way before you even think about stepping off the sidewalk. At least the first two weeks you’re here. After a while you become as bold as the cars.
3. U-turns are done from the left-most lane. Expect to be in the right-most lane in a taxi and suddenly the driver veers across 5 or 6 lanes of traffic sitting at a red light–prime u-ey time! Alternately, they will do a u turn where a side street comes out, and straddle the sidewalk as needed to avoid a 3 point turn, in the midst of streams of pedestrians moving through.
4. A car, bike or pedestrian coming from a side street will actually look before going out into the busy road. The guiding principle seems to be: whoever chickens out first yields to the other party–no matter who’s bigger. So just keep moving and don’t stop! And learn to use that horn/bell. Papa unfortunately had a little bike fender-bender with a college student last week-fortunately nobody was injured and both parties walked away unscathed. Insurance companies were not notified.
5. The center stripe means anything at all. When you come, bring your blood pressure pills and valium along–you’ll be glad you didn’t leave home without them (especially when riding in a car). Oh yeah, and seatbelts are nonexistent. Come visit us for the adventure of a lifetime!