Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Way - The Wrong Way

Traffic is a royal pain in Baku and when the president decides to go somewhere, the traffic situation gets even worse. That's what happened yesterday. All the main streets were blocked for more than one hour -- forcing drivers to make long detours through very narrow streets.

We need to go about seven blocks, but had to make one of those long detours. The driver, Heydar, decided to make the long detour a bit shorter. He pushes down the accelerator on his Mercedes and turns left onto a one way street -- there were three problems: we were going the wrong way, the street was incredibly narrow and the line of cars in front of us stretched on forever.

Heydar laid down on his car horn and proceeded down the street. Not a single driver seemed to think it was out of the ordinary -- they just moved over as much as they could -- and we squeezed by.

After three blocks or so, we finally got off the one-way street, but had to take another one -- and this one went right past the police station. The cops didn't even notice -- we just drove right by them -- they continued talking.

As Heydar explained, drivers feel forced to break the law since there are so many cars and so few streets and alternative routes -- particularly when the president decides to close the streets.

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