31 August 2010

Description of a Traffic Jam

I was recently reading an article, and came across this description of a traffic jam in Port-au-Prince.

When a car breaks down in Port au Prince, the driver’s default is to either abandon the car until further notice, or wait for someone to come by and help repair the vehicle—yes, exactly where it is, in the middle of a 1 ½ lane, two-way street. Such decisions result in hours of traffic congestion, frustration, and lots of sweat while sitting under Haiti’s unrelenting sun. So, for the past three and a half months, I have learned to build traffic-time into my daily schedule, while I pass by unchanging collapsed buildings, and street vendors scrambling to sell whatever that day may bring to the market (today it was television antennas, car floor mats, purple detergent, and delicious avocados).

For some reason, the street vendors don't seem to understand why you don't need to by purple floor cleaner every day on your way home from work.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. They also like to put tree branches in the corners of the trunk when they break down, instead of using the flashers. That cracks me up.

  3. The rest of the linked article is an interesting glimpse into another aid organization's experience in Haiti.

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