Great Road Journeys

Bolivia’s Yungas region boasts two of the most dangerous roads in the world. All I can say about the one in this video, Yungas Road, or Death Road, is “I’m glad it’s them and not me!” Warning: viewing the video full-screen will give you better idea of the danger… but might give you acrophobia!

The uploader’s notes (as translated by Google) read, “Through Yungas, DEATH ROAD, The world’s most dangerous road. By one estimate, two vehicles crashed a month and 200 to 300 travellers were killed yearly along the road. That is why you will find numerous roadside crosses marking the accident sites.” The “todesstrasse” in the video title means “death road”.

Death Road was featured on the BBC’s The World’s Most Dangerous Roads, with Phill Jupitus and Marcus Brigstocke.

Traffic choreography

Compared to Melbourne traffic, this looks chaotic… until you take a closer look. Sure there are heaps of vehicles passing through the intersection, but they all flow so smoothly that you’d reckon the scene had been choreographed. No one seems to get upset because they’ve been cut off, no one tries to take another driver’s place, and even when a few stragglers are caught in the middle when the light changes no one seems to mind. Most important… no accidents – not even a close shave.

Melbourne drivers could take some lessons on patience and sharing from this video! I guess it comes down to a difference between Eastern and Western attitudes.

The video’s uploader commented, “Video taken on May 15, 2010, 6.00 PM at KFC rooftop, Nguyen Cahn Cha intersection, Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam. Watching Saigon traffic is truly an exhilarating experience, crossing the streets is another story!”


According to a news report, Dmitry Argarkov of Voronezh, Russia, received a letter offering him a credit card. He didn’t like the bank’s terms, so he scanned the application into his computer and made a few alterations, then sent it off to the bank. In due course he received back a copy of the contract – signed by the bank – and a shiny new credit card.

The bank later tried to close the account because payment was overdue. It sued Mr Argarkov for 45,000 roubles of fees and charges.

Unfortunately for the bank, apparently no one actually read Mr Argarkov’s altered version of the contract before they signed it. The new terms were definitely not in the bank’s, er… interest:

  • a zero per cent interest rate
  • no fees
  • no credit limit
  • every time the bank failed to comply with the rules, he would fine them 3 million roubles ($A100,000)
  • if the bank tried to cancel the contract, it would have to pay him 6 million roubles

This week a Russian court found in Mr Argarkov’s favour, and ordered him to pay only the outstanding amount due on his account.

“The Bank confirmed its agreement to the client’s terms and sent him a credit card and a copy of the approved application form,” his lawyer, Dmitry Mikhalevich, said. “They signed the documents without looking. They said what usually their borrowers say in court: ‘We have not read it’.” Mr Argarkov is now suing the bank for 24 million roubles for breaking the agreement and not honouring the contract.

The bank has launched its own legal action, accusing Mr Argarkov of fraud. I’m sure the bank would argue mea culpa (“my mistake”) if Mr Argarkov had signed an agreement without reading it. They’d be quick to deny liability for the customer’s mistake.

But I guess that’s different.