The article lists the most thrilling drives in the World.
I don’t believe this list is complete. For one, it does not consider roads such as the Mettupalayam-Ooty highway. I don’t even want to comment on the Himalayan trails, having seen some of them at heart-stopping angles from automobiles defying at least some laws of Physics as they navigate the steep hairpin bends. Not to mention how scenic these drives are.
You know how it is when you plod your child to recite the alphabet in front of reserved strangers merely to break the ice? I used to find the analogy quite apt for the Ashok Leyland buses staggering up particularly trying roads while chatting up unresponsive cliffs. The buses go (Gulp) “See rock face? I can climb” The blighters would outperform themselves as they navigated the steep roads, where visibility boasted near 0, while the Ashok Leyland engineers watched on in admiration as their little babies shone.
These roads sometimes had parapet walls warning them about the road boundaries, but they weren’t much to write home about. They were barely a foot high and helpfully broken in several places. Lane discipline – well, have you driven in India?
How do I know you ask? Let’s say that I have navigated these roads from the view point closest to these Ashok Leyland bus drivers. The buses would be crowded by Indian Standards, not Western ones, and I would nestle up close to that huge blob of an engine by the Driver’s seat. The buses would start from Coimbatore – the plains , as we hill folk liked to call it. The sweltering heat at Coimbatore made folks shy away from that spot because of the warm benign waves the engine generated. Moi, being the brave soul and all that, would stand there dumbly – simply soaking in the heat. As the buses started the steep 14 hair-pin bend ascent into the hills, suddenly, the heat became a good thing. The mists would come rushing in, tingling your senses and taunting them with a cold brush against one’s skin – exposed or otherwise.
I must tell you, the peril seems multifold if you are not the one holding the steering wheel. Nope, you just stand there wishing Friendly Driver Dude turns the steering wheel at the right moment.
There have been times when I’ve gone in for the scalded bottom phenomenon and sat on the engines. The viewpoint from there was equally fascinating. Thrilling I tell you, simply thrilling – some drivers have driven me to scalded bottom ectasy simply because I could not bear the tension of their last minute maneuvers.
Yet, this road does not make the list – sigh!