Monday, March 29, 2010

Formula One Commuting

One of the biggest shocks of getting back (typing faster now that
melon had his fix - for now) is driving. This picture would only be
possible in a video game in Kenya. In the city, traffic is slowed
due almost constant traffic jams and zillions of speed bumps. These
bumps are huge. They look like coffins lined up across the road.
The only choice is to slow down to less that 5 km/hr (that is near
zero) and go kerchunk up and down over that poor coffin. When
traffic is congested, vehicles get with the thickness of paint to
each other (approximately 2 mm) and do their imitation of a cow in
a herd, trying to push their way into the desired lane of travel.
This normally happens in an ingenious traffic intersection called
"round-abouts" The concept of the round-about is to avoid those
nasty right angles of those narrow minded intersections, and have a
small circle that everyone merges into and merges out of at the
desired road. The problem is that there aren't any defined lanes.
The herding cows within paint thickness distances are inching along
without any order or submission to a lane of traffic. At this
point, you begin to be concerned about the condition of your
breath, as the norm of open windows puts you within closer
proximity to the next vehicle than you normally experience in a sit
down restaurant. Road rage has the potential of turning into an arm
wrestling match. Eventually, the ingenious driver always delivered
us to the desired location, all without a single street sign. Now
that we are back, it is mind boggling to zoom along at speeds
unknown in most of Africa.

Tom Butz

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