Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Quick or the Dead

We’re still trying to get the hang of the Casablanca traffic and hoping we get it before it gets us. It reminds you of the old Irish joke about switching from left- to right-hand drive in stages - cars only for the first year, then trucks and busses. The Casablancan Highway Code as I read it is: cars stop on red lights, bikes and scooters never. Pedestrians have no idea what‘s going on, because, to add to the excitement, the colour of the lights is a secret to all except drivers approaching the crossing. Thus ‘cars still’ means you can cross, but only until the lights change, an event that you do not become aware of until three lanes of bikes and Peugeot 106s are hurtling towards you, horns a-braying. There are traffic cops, but their function is unclear: sometimes they’re pro-lights, sometimes they’re anti. When in anti-lights mode you can’t tell which stance means Stop - profile or full frontal? - until he's approaching wielding a wad of tickets.
It sure keeps your weight down, but I can’t help wondering how many lives might be saved by a few Run like Hell!/Don’t Run signs

I’m not complaining - honest. We don’t have a word for depaysagement - unfamiliarity I guess - the thrill of not being at home - of expecting the unexpected. It’s more fun than being in Florida or Grand Canary - or even Windsor - where everyone speaks English and you can’t get lost. We have a super apartment, in which, although we can't both be online at the same time (one of us is XP and the other Vista, and each system jealously demands the deinstallation of the other's driver!) we have so far coexisted amicably. Just watch this space...

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