The apartment we are staying at is on the 4th floor next to a small, but busy intersection; and I often step out and watch the traffic below. Recently, the traffic lights had quit working which made for some interesting observations. It may not be polite of me, but I kept hoping for an accident. Even though nothing happened, it did remind me of an intersection in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that we had to cross twice a day. There is a YouTube video some of you may have seen. If you watch the video below, which is twice normal speed, you get an idea of what it was like. Our intersection was the one at the top of the video, which was just as crazy.
I once asked one of the good Ethiopians I worked with why the traffic lights never work. He said, one day a Contractor went to the City and said he would fix the lights for “X” amount of money. It was a good deal, so the City Government accepted. But when he started working, there was so much corruption in the Government, that he was always having to pay extra fees or bribes to do his job, so he just quit.
About once a week, a perfectly healthy character will kneel down next the street to beg. I watched him several times and took a picture of him. The next time, I will try to get a video of him. He will hold out his hands asking for money, and slowly move down the line on his knees like he cannot walk, then when the traffic clears, he will stand up and move back to the front. The lady in black had just handed him some money, and he slid it into his pockets and continued begging at the next series of cars that stopped at the light.
One of the things I kept here in Brazil is my sling shot and a bag of marbles. I cannot fully express how tempting it is to send a marble down to the character just to watch him dance, but I refrained. For now.
The drivers in Sao Paulo are very patient compared to the dangerous drivers in Turkey, but we often hear some idiot honking his horn because the driver in front did not immediately respond when the light turned green. So, I decided I will keep my eyes open for paint balls the next time we go to the nearby mall. Then we will see what happens with some idiot lays on his horn, or a perfectly healthy joker starts to beg, or any one of the many people out walking their dogs do not pick up after the animal.
Then, we will see who is the boss looking down on these people from above.
Makes you a little giddy, doesn’t it.