traffic jams and other crazy things
By now, I think that everyone knows that cairo has crazy traffic. Some of the reason for it is the crazy attitude of drivers as well as the ones supposed to regulate it. I've been witness to policemen waving a bus to turn around on a tiny street, causing a huge queue of waiting and honking cars, blocking off side streets in which other car queues formed...
Another policeman, supposed to regulate traffic was not authoritarian enough, so that a car of the street he commanded to stop just went on driving straight into the intersection. Even though it was our turn to drive, my friend stopped in order to avoid hitting the "indisciplined" car crossing the iontersection. Now you would expect the policeman wistling at the car which drove without permission and maybe even inflict a penalty, but no, not this one. His reaction was to scream at my friend, she should have driven on (and eventually hit the other car), as if that would have been the only way to stop the other car from ignoring the policemen's order.
Roundabouts are another of my favourite traffic topics. Now, we in the western world are used to drive around roundabouts and drive out of them at the street you want to follow. Well here, this is not completely the case. Some people will circle, others though will just start off in the opposite direction, if their exit is closer this way, causing immense chaos, of course. This is how we got stuck for a full hour at the big roundabout of the pyramids at 3am!!!
Other cause of small and less small traffic jams are the sellers on the street. As I had told you before you can buy kleenex boxes at each street corners. Lemons, flowers, fresh mint or jasmine chains (used to temporarily perfume the car) are also highly appreciated goods which can be purchased at intersections. By the time a driver decides to buy something, negociates the price and gets out the money, again a nice queue of honking cars will have lined up behind him.
Happy out-of-the-car-shopping, my friends!!!