Sunday, February 27, 2011

Tuk Tuk

There's a lot going on in our world right now. High level things which will take up their own chapters in the next generation's history textbooks. Many of these events are happening within a stone's throw of where I sit, involving people that I know. There could be a whole shelf in your local library dedicated to the things happening on one side of where I am, and at least a shelf dedicated to the things happening on the other side. And things are far from boring here where I stand!


Last week there was a major protest on the highway near where we live. We use this highway for two purposes: going to our favourite Syrian restaurant, and going to the Nile to walk by the river. So we know this highway well, as do most people in this fine town. It has many, many lanes (I don't know how many - there are no lines to define them) and it's never too busy but it's always got a lot of movement.

As you enter the highway, there is a sign announcing that TukTuks are not allowed. I wish I had a photo to share with you, it's adorable. A TukTuk is a type of rickshaw: a three passenger little buggy hanging over a motorcycle engine. The driver sits up front, and two people can bounce along in the back. It can't go very fast, and I doubt the drivers attended TukTuk driving school, so it's fair to say they are a safety hazard, especially on a major highway. The sign has a picture of a TukTuk with a line drawn through it. That seems pretty clear, right?

Except this has never seemed to stop the TukTuks from driving on the highway, and they do often get tangled up with cars. So last Thursday morning, apparently there was a major accident involving a TukTuk and fatalities, and apparently such accidents are not uncommon.

So in response, a crowd a thousand strong swarmed to the highway to protest TukTuks and traffic safety. It became a major event, I'm told, and when we tried to get to the Nile on Thursday afternoon, traffic was stopped and there was a feel that something major had just gone down. In response to the protests, workers had started fixing some median strips and putting up poles for more traffic lights.

Now, I must say that TukTuks truly are a headache. They are noisy, they share the road with cars that drive three times their speed, and because they have no doors the drivers are always pulling up next to me when I walk, trying to give me a lift. They often wait at the end of the street I'm walking on and even follow me for a few metres in the desperate hope I will avail of their services. But, of course, this is a sign that TukTuk drivers are working for their survival; their lives cannot be easy. And THEY were the target of the big protest of the year.


happygirl said...

Maybe a tuk tuk lane? Maybe the traffic lights where not put up in a timely fashion? Maybe public money was held back by the government for some unknown reason? These thing are difficult. stay safe my friend.

imoomie said...

Thanks for making may day broader than it would have been in my little corner of the world!


Tammy@Fear Not said...

Hope you're tucked away safe.

Post a Comment