Today we find ourselves especially thankful to have our own car. Owning a car is a real privledge here in Lima. 92 percent of Lima's residents depend on public transportation to get around the massive city. The streets are usually crowded with buses, mini-vans and taxis carting people from place to place. Today the streets are free from buses and vans because of a 24 hour strike called a "Paro." Thousands of people are stranded with no way to get to work. Corners were crowded with people waiting for the few available taxis. It wouldn't be unusual to see the back of a dump truck filled with people, using it as a bus-alternative.
The drivers often go on strike in Peru trying to have traffic and motorist laws changed. This time they are protesting high fines, and the revoking of drivers permits for unpaid infractions. Several years ago a study was done and found that Lima's streets were the most dangerous in the world. The government leaders try to improve the poor driving habits with new laws and stiff fines. Not much has helped as drivers continue to race through the streets and only occassionally obey traffic laws. No one stops at "stop" signs. No one obeys posted speed limits. It is pretty common to see people going the wrong way down a one-way street. I've often thought that NASCAR drivers should visit Lima for a refresher course in racing!
We are actually thankful everyday for our car. Daniel, our national co-worker comes over most days to visit and work with us. His morning bus ride takes at least 1 hour and 15 minutes. We can travel that same distance in our own car in 30 minutes. Most Peruvians have just grown accustomed to the delays that public transportation create. Thankfully most transportation strikes only last 24 hours. Next time you jump in your car for a quick trip to the grocery store thank God for your car! I know we're thankful!