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Thursday
Nov052009

crossing cairo roads

The key thing to remember when you launch out to cross any crazy road in Cairo is that you have as much right to be there as the biggest bus and the smallest moped. There is an essential democracy of the roads, which, though the biggest will tend to bully, they cannot take away from you. And every car driver accepts this. So if you should step right in front of something they may hoot and scream but they will stop. Not so in the West where a pedestrian’s rights only extend as far as the pavement and the zebra crossing. On the road he takes his life in his own hands. There are even countries like the US where crossing roads not at the special crossing is an offence. Get rid of that mindset in Egypt. Here, on the road, we have our right to be there, and, knowing this, one can launch into any stream of mad cars with equanimity. You will be respected, rather as a slow car is respected in the West when it tries to cross a busy road. If you launch out, cars will stop, not just because they don’t want an accident, but because you have as much right to be there as they do. Think of yourself as a very slow and very fragile car crossing a road of juggernauts. Lock eyes with oncoming drivers and never stop once you start moving, you may stall. Show decision and telegraph a clear trajectory so the oncomers can take early evasive action. Stand sideways if the gap between two headlong plunging bangers looks especially tight.

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