Thursday, December 11, 2008

Dead Man Supine

These traffic-slowing structures - known here as un túmulo (a bump), as a sleeping policeman (un policia dormido) in the UK, and as un muerto (a dead person) in Nicaragua- have the same chequered history of traffic lights in Guatemala.

This one was knocked up last week on the corner of the main road behind our house by the Muni workers who are currently cobbling the street beside the church.

They did one half of the street first, prompting Don R to comment that this was surely how they intended to leave it. Even by Guatemalan standards this would have been dippy. They obviously just needed a bit of a break, because today they returned to continue the obstacle on to the other side of the road.

On its first full night of duty the Muni team thought to leave a few little red flags around it so that drivers accustomed to use La Calle de la Reforma like one of the straights at Silverstone would have a few seconds in which to apply their brakes. The next evening these were gone - either because they had been nicked or because they were needed elsewhere - and V was later to witness a motorcyclist being caterpaulted several feet into the air. Several more accidents have ensued and the bump itself is already badly scarred from close encounters with overloaded pickups.

As you can see from the pic above, tonight the early warning system will comprise of some branches, a collection of rocks and two half-empty bags of cement...

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