Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Keeping up with ourselves

With Mausi in Thuringia attending her Druid Convocation at Bad Liebenstein and me in Tehran trying to cope with visa extensions, traffic jams (perpetual) and eager students, Blogging is a luxury. I hope Getafix has plenty of magic potion to dispense, I think we both need a dose of it at present.

Tehran today was hot and almost windless. That means the smog build up over the city is almost as good as Terry Pratchett's description of the miasma that hovers over the River Ankh in Ankh-Morpork in his discworld novels. It is a thick brown haze that perpetually hangs over the city unless its raining or the wind stors it around and rearranges it to suit the whim of the moment. The traffic here is utterly crazy, not helped by a road netwrok planned, I think, in a computer, probably in an ivory tower somewhere and bearing no relationship at all to where the people need to go, or where the heaviest traffic is likely to accumulate. "Expressways" are long parking garages, two days ago, we took 45 minutes to travel just 500 metres (Roughly 550 yards to those still using Imperial) and any journey in this city is done on a "stop/go" basis.

As for lane discipline, I seriously think that the traffic here would move more smoothly if there were no road signs and no road markings. Missed a turn-off on the Expressway? No problem. Stop, slam it into reverese and back up at speed! Everyone behind simply takes evasive action, horns sound, thumbs are waved (Thumbs up here have a very rude meaning!) and accidents are narrowly avoided. There seems to be a pathological mindset here which insists that if you wish to turn right you must do so from the extreme left lane and vice versa. Yes, I know the denizens of Melbourne have the same system, but they don't do so across moving traffic as far as I am aware. Here you put your indicator on and go for it, juggernauts' brakes scream, buses swerve violently and everyone does it - even the buses and juggernauts.

Ah well, I think Mausi will have fun at her Convention. Wish I was in Thuringia too, I could always offer to stir cauldrons I suppose for any future gatherings.

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