#1 Drink Driving
March 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
Expats love to drink. The crush of humanitarian hardship would be too great without the relief provided by a few quiet beers to wind down the week bought from a portable kiosk near the cathedral roundabout at 3am. The expat feels entitled to this as an intrinsic development right to soothe jangled nervous after a particularly hideous logframe review in a donor meeting. However, without taxis at night the pursuit of alcoholic indulgence is complicated somewhat. Although many expats like to emphatically state they would never drink drive back home, particularly from a moral view point, they enjoy and actively engage in drink driving often in Timor, whether on motorbike or NGO assigned car replete with stereo cranked to 11 and psy-trance blaring into the night void of an empty Comoro rd.
What expats in Timor seem to enjoy more than drink driving, is bragging about their state of intoxication behind the wheel the night before and how “they could really use a lime juice and nurofen right now just so they can properly articulate how fucked up their weekend of free UN beer at the palm springs party was”, before they go into the training workshop they are presenting at. Almost embarrassingly, but with a sly smile, expats will give a pretend hint of regret and lament their state of drunkenness, emphasising how incredibly legless they were at the end of a GNR party and how they shouldn’t have driven home….but emphatically justify these actions with a shrug and ask the other expat “What other options are there?”. The thought of carpooling, drinking in moderation or karaoke without being hammered seems beyond comprehension and removes the possibility of lugubrious Monday morning dirges about the weekend’s activities and the cred received from being involved in such a wild and erratic shenanigans. Particularly well received by expats are stories that involve vomiting and driving at the same time, a true sign of road mastery and long term experience in the country. Although the expat on the receiving end of the story will express judgment and disgust, secretly they are envious that own levels or irresponsibility that weekend didn’t scale such giddy heights and give them such a powderkeg story of weekend recklessness.
The expat in Timor has become so good at reinforcing their indignant and moral right to drive drunk that within in weeks of moving to Timor Leste the expat feels entirely comfortable at getting on the back of a motorbike driven by a person unable to cognitively connect key to ignition or remember the way back to their house without stopping at Tiger fuel for a 4am pizza and a roadie. The ability to navigate Dili’s streets while inebriated is perceived to be something that is learned, rather than illegal and persistent behavior like this will soon fill the expat with the perception of revered third-world driving skills, whether they are drunk or not.