The Circle of Death
Day 000 – July 22, 2011
After leaving the airport, we drive to our house through the heart of Lima. While my watch reads 22:30, my body clock, courtesy of the travel and stress, has reached its limit. While one of my wife’s co-workers is chatting about this street or that building or this tidbit of life in Lima, my mind is fuzzy.
However, upon hearing the word “death”, the circuit breakers in my brain spark to life and ask the woman riding shotgun to repeat what she said.
With a circle of asphalt spanning four lanes and entry and exit points at the cardinal directions, the cars fly through this roundabout fast and furious…and there are no traffic signals so it becomes a free-for-all when the roads are full.
As we drive through Ovalo Monitor late on a Friday night, the traffic is light and this seems more like a “Circle of Mild-Grade Fever” than its more morbid moniker.
Once our mini-van arrives in a month or two, I know I will be forced into this roundabout soon to drive around Lima on various errands and we’ll see if the nickname lives up to the hype. Until then, I am content to let someone else do the driving because there is a house I have never viewed, a bed I have never seen, and a fuzzy future I can dimly view all waiting for me.
UPDATE: AUGUST 17, 2011
A seasoned world traveller I met at a lunch last week told me that every major city has its version of the “Circle of Death” and that Lima’s version in the Monterrico neighborhood is nothing out of the ordinary.
I have it on my “List of Things to Research” to find out who is the Monitor this roundabout is named for.
For the time being, I have only been driven through Ovalo Monitor in taxi cabs by drivers who either have nerves of ice water or an extrasensory perception of what all the other drivers on this road because for all the chaos and confusion of cars speeding by and weaving through each other, I still have yet to see an accident.
May the saints smile on me when I take the plunge in our own car on this oval as I am not so much worried about hitting someone, but I know it will take all my willpower to drive that road and NOT say, “Look kids, Big Ben…Parliament!“