Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A drive through town

Last weekend, GBM and I went for a drive to Mlimani City, the large shopping mall about 10km away.  The drive, on a Saturday afternoon at lunch time, took us over 45 minutes and was the main adventure of the day. 

It seems that any time of day, any day of the week, traffic seldom moves more than 40kmph, between pedestrians, street vendors, daladalas (multi-person taxis), bajajs (three-wheel people carrying scooters), black-tinted taxi saloons, road-hogging 4x4s, there is no where to go in a hurry. 

The hairiest, but most interesting, part of the drive was the stretch down Bagamoyo Rd. It's three-lanes... furthest on each side is obviously for two directional traffic. However, the middle lane is less obvious. This rather seems to be a case of "he who holds his spot last, lasts." So at one stage, we were happily sitting on the outer of what we thought were two lanes going in our direction, when suddenly everyone was scrambling to feed into the outside lane, because.. oh... look... now the middle lane is for oncoming traffic. 

GBM said he was sticking to the outside lane and I (some might say, for once) was fully supportive of his decision. 

And then there are traffic lights, which aren't even a guide-line, they're just... there. If someone at the front of the queue stops on the red (or green), everyone else behind them stops. However, the flow of traffic at some intersections just seems to keep going and going and going, regardless of colour. It's not that the lights aren't working, they just aren't getting a say in the matter. Yet, other intersections seem to function according to global norms. But, similar to the middle lane of traffic, we have no frikken clue where or when. So every intersection must be treated like a game drive through a herd of elephants... assertive, with full awareness and absolute caution. 

The better part of an hour later, we found our way to the relative haven of Mr Price, Game and Shoprite, where delights such as YOU, Sports Illustrated and other gems can be purchased. If you don't mind reading them several months after publication. 

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