It is a scientific fact that everyone in the world either has a shitty commute now, had one in the past or is going to get one in the immediate future. But no matter how crappy your journey to your job is or how many hobos you have to fight on the subway, there's always someone out there who has it even worse. These are those people.
After all, they must survive ...
#6. Hussaini Bridge
You'd think that living within walking distance of your job would automatically disqualify you from bitching about your commute. Yeah, well, not if the one thing between your house and the place you work looks like this:
No, that's not a screen capture from the "none shall pass" scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail -- it's an actual photo of a bridge located in the Hussaini village at Gilgit-Baltistan, which is a region of either northern Pakistan or Kashmir, depending on who you ask (apparently both sides are really keen on taking credit for this impressive work of architecture). But the point is, the village itself is located on both banks of the Hunza River: On one side are the actual houses, on the other is the farmland where the villagers work, and in the middle is this bullshit series of wooden planks held together by a combination of twine and hope.
So, that thing lies between the workers and their jobs.
If you're wondering why the Pakistani government hasn't helped these poor farmers out, it totally tried to, but nature had other plans. Back in 1986, the government set aside funds to build a perfectly normal, nonscary bridge ... which was destroyed within the year thanks to the winter winds and the monsoon season.
"But surely this rope bridge will withstand the coming storm."
That's right, the wind tore apart the goddamned bridge. The locals were forced to make their own bridges again, and they periodically build new ones when the old ones are destroyed. Sometimes they leave the shattered remains hanging there as a fun reminder of what could happen to the current bridge at any moment should the wind decide to murder it. This goes to show that all the money and fancy bridges in the world won't do you any good if nature hates you.
Watch this video of a guy crossing the Hussaini bridge (starts at 2:15) and notice how violently everything starts shaking once the wind gets going. That camera he was using had to be a rental otherwise, any sane man would have dropped that bitch into the water at around 3:00.
The one thing we don't understand is why the farmers don't simply move their homes to the other side of the river and live closer to the farmland -- although the mere thought of having to haul all our shit across this thing is enough to give us vertigo.
You couldn't take more than one stereo speaker at a time without everything falling apart.
#5. Yungas Road (aka Death Road)
For some of you, having an encounter with a careless driver who almost makes you drive off the road is actually a bit of a relief, because it means you have a guaranteed topic of conversation with your dad and extended family for the next two months. Other people, however, don't find this type of encounter so amusing, especially in instances where "going off the road" means "falling to certain death." Like the truckers who have to go on Yungas Road every day:
Yungas Road connects the trucking routes among the cities of La Paz, Coroico and Chulumani in Bolivia, so you've got trucks from three different places converging in that extremely limited space you see up there. The locals call it El Camino de la Muerte or, "Death Road," which sounds like something Dolph Lundgren might have starred in during the 90s. It's estimated that the road takes between 200 and 300 lives every year (also like Dolph Lundgren), which is why in 1995 it was declared the most dangerous in the world."
One wrong move on Yungas Road and you could be plummeting thousands of feet down the guardrail-less cliff face. Even with no wrong moves, you could still end up crushed under a sudden rockslide. And then there's the drivers: Some of these people drive on Yungas Road every single day of their lives, so at this point they've literally lost their capacity for fear. Apparently the first rule of Death Road is that the vehicle going downhill never has the right of way, which means that if it don't pull over, it risks getting pushed off the road by the other guy.
The second rule of Death Road? There are no rules.
Seriously, take a look at this video of a car going downhill and watch how (starting at around 2:25) the driver is constantly having to pull aside to let the trucks going uphill take the road.
The Bolivian government has tried to make Yungas Road safer, but unfortunately there's not a whole lot that can be done. In 30 years of constant work, they've only managed to make a few parts slightly wider, and they bypassed one section of North Yungas Road back in 2006. But hell, even if you could add several feet to the thing, vehicles would just start driving on it three across.
Travel by catapult may be the safest solution here.
#4. The Lineman's Crawl
Unlike some of the more exotic entries on this list, the lineman's crawl (or at least the most ball-shatteringly terrifying portion of it) takes place somewhere you probably see every day: the wires of a high-voltage power line. The difference is that you're only looking at those power lines from the comfort of your car, while other people have to get up on top of them.
He's laughing because you're a pussy.
Yep, part of these guys' daily routine involves crawling between one power post and the next, 100 feet above the ground, performing maintenance on the wires while thousands of volts run over their bodies (more on that in a moment). And how do they get up there? Sitting on the side of a helicopter, because that's literally the only method of transportation sufficiently badass for them.
If you look closely, you'll notice he's doing a crossword puzzle.
See, in the fast-paced world of today, people can't stand the thought of having their electricity shut off for a few hours so that routine maintenance can be performed -- for most of us, the idea that we could have a toaster strudel at any time is the only thing keeping us sane. So that vital maintenance has to be performed while the wires are still live, as this video demonstrates:
To survive the insane amounts of electricity, linemen have to wear flexible metal mesh suits that divert the volts around their bodies. But that's not all: Remember at the beginning of the video, when the lineman touches the wires using a metal rod? He's not doing that to pretend he's Harry Potter (at least not exclusively), but rather because he needs to "charge" himself with the same potential as the wire before mounting it. If the helicopter overshoots even a little during that process, it could come into contact with the wrong wire and turn both the lineman and the pilot into a pile of ashes. Making sure this doesn't happen involves an amazing amount of coordination between pilot and lineman, like some sort of extreme high-voltage ballet.
It's kinda like The Nutcracker, except in this version, your balls are fried by electricity.
When "hanging from the side of a helicopter" qualifies as the least scary part of your commute, you know it might be time to start looking for another job. But don't think all shitty commutes belong to people with extreme jobs or living in poor countries ...