Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Red Light with Green Arrow

Photo: www.xafricachallenge.com

Aaahhhh, do you drive, do you stop, the dala dala is coming at  you with  the speed of white light….. aaaahh, but the light is red, what do you do!!!???

Covered in kebab sauce from a catering event which I had to wake up for at 3 am this morning to make sure everything is in order,  I find myself sitting half asleep at the intersection close to Dar’s Game Department. There are currently 4 lanes of cars (in real life only just 2). I look in my rear view mirror at this special shocking pink and mint green dala dala racing down with two wheels on the pavement and two wheels off the pavement,  wondering to myself, this guy is SERIOUSLY not going to drive this dangerously to gain a whole of 3 cars to get to the front…..….. inevitably, he comes screaming past and turns the corner…. We had 5 lines for a moment there!

Every Dar es Salamite (if there is such a word) will know that you secretly cringe when your beloved family or your dear friends from somewhere in the world, state with a hop, skip and a jump in their voice, that they’ll be arriving in Dar at 14:00 on a Monday for a two week visit……. Don’t get me wrong – you don’t cringe because they are coming, your heart miss a beat, because you’ll have to drive to the airport to go and fetch them. Upanga Road – probably my least favourite road in this colourful city.

You have to bob and weave through the lanes (2, 3 or 4 , depending on the dala dala situation) and make sure you don’t find yourself in the lane where there’s a feed off to the right or left, because then your in for a long wait! I created my own lane today, a dala dala was dropping people off at a road side station and there was a car coming from behind, luckily it was a Maruti Suzuki – known in my family as a loaf of bread – and I could ssqqquuueeeezzze past.

Driving in Dar is special as is. One of my first lessons by Impi, was to drive LIKE THEY DO, otherwise you are going to have many many accidents. So I proceeded to drive LIKE THEY DO for the last 6 years. And I must admit, touch wood, I haven’t had an accident!

General rule of thumb, if the light is red and there a green arrow to the left and your on the straight lane – DRIVE. If the light is orange, DRIVE. If it’s late at night and the light is red – DRIVE!

…….. but in saying this, my dear friends, please please be very careful.

 ~desert rose~

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