Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Travel in Africa—May 13, 2012

Anne and I are on ‘holiday’ with Jen and she has allowed me to write 1 blog.  We have traveled to Uganda, Tanzania and  Madagascar (currently) and have been to all 3 capitals.  We have had many adventures but I want to talk about driving in Africa.  Many people would picture a safari vehicle driving on a grass plain.  Main roads here are paved, often with a dirt shoulder where people walk – many people.  Foot and vehicle traffic are blended, with people often drifting into the street and vehicles in traffic using the dirt sometimes to pass.  You need nerves of steel to drive here.  Madagascar’s roads are like the Pacific Ccoast Hiighway (curves and hairpin turns, but no cliffs). We spent 4 hours late yesterday being driven from the airport on these roads, the last hour after dark.   Our drive from the ferry in Tanzania to the airport was in jammed traffic .  The drivers (including our’s) were very, very aggressive but none of them get aggravated (a few polite toots on the horn, no more).  Our driver cut through a parking lot and nudged back into traffic to move ahead 3 car lengths.  At 1 point he went over the curb, into the gas station, past the pump and back into traffic.  Traffic in Kampala, Uganda (like Tanzania) was very heavy.  There was 1 traffic light (Jen says Uganda has 4).  Traffic is about 1/3 cars, 1/3 trucks and taxis (15 person van’s) and ½ boda bodas (motor bikes with 1, 2 or 3 people, mostly all men).  Don’t do the math.  There’s that much traffic.  Add in hundreds of people on foot, traffic circles and vehicles inches apart.  This is Kampala traffic. 

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