A Waste of Paint

Posted: April 23, 2009 in GUMBO
Tags: , , ,

This post is not about the black flats that we have been trying to source for GUMBO and will need to paint tomorrow morning.  Nor is it about the GUMBO set that needs to be painted by tomorrow for our technical rehearsal.  Or the glaring lack of graffiti in a city that has so much ugly wall space.  This post is about none of these things – although it could be.  Rather, it is about road markings.  We have come to the realisation that the people who designed the roads in Buenos Aires wasted litres and litres of white paint, and days of manual labour.  Why?  Because while the roads are beautifully marked and at first glance appear to be well-designed, capable of carrying thousands of people to and from work, the lines on them have absolutely no impact on how people drive! You might think this is an exaggeration but I can assure you, it’s not!!  In a road with 7 lanes, it is not unusual for there to be 10 cars abreast, all jostling about in a kind of jig saw formation.  Changing lanes whenever you want without warning?  Standard stuff.  Straddling two lanes?  Totally normal.  Cutting people off?  No problem!  Hooters are as unimportant to Argie driving as a hip flask is to a duck, and should one be used against you, it’s like it never happened.  What hooter??  Indicators are another defunct piece of the Argie vehicle – other than to show, at the very, very, very last moment that you will be pulling over and stopping.  Taxis are particularly skilled at the Last-Minute-Don’t-Expect-Me-To-Warn-You stop.  And they don’t actually get out of the way.  Generally these last-minute stops happen with the back half of the car still in the road and the other half making a token gesture of letting you pass by putting its nose into the “parking” lane.  It’s insane.  And it’s not just the cars: Ugli was almost knocked over by a motorbike today!  You would think the fear would run deep riding a bike through the middle of Buenos Aires, but no.  With fewer space limitations, the motorcycles can be even more dangerous than the cars!!  But no one seems to get upset on the road.  Ever.  Perhaps the driving is so bad collectively that you have to do something UNSPEAKABLE before making people angry… the mind boggles…

Bottom line: if you want to get around in Buenos Aires, take the bus!  It may take a whole lot longer – and not behave any better than the taxis or bikes – but dang, you’re more likely of getting there in one piece!

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