andrew burke





About Venezuela: Traffic

Posted on: 2007-07-11

The best way I can describe the traffic in Venezuela is to quote Tycho in a Penny Arcade post about crossing the street in Italy:

We had been warned by absolutely every person we know about "Italian Drivers" and the danger they represent to humanity. I had no interest in trying to actually drive there, that would have been suicide. It would have been comitting my body entirely to game with indistinct rules, playing with a nation of opponents who are professionals at the sport.

Walking there is no problem, though. At least, not if you know about Ethernet.

The way we are used to utilizing our streets in, let's say, Seattle is that we as pedestrians cross when we have the light, and we as drivers go when we have the light. It reminds one of the Token Ring network topology: each node, Vehicular or Pedestrian, gets the token and has access to the media. Then it switches, the other guys go, and it goes on like that.

By comparison, if you want to see as compelling a demonstration of Ethernet as you are ever likely to see in your life, head on over to Rome and try to cross the fucking street.

Don't wait to cross it, they'll never stop. Everyone goes at once. That's right, there are forty motorscooters and tiny Smart Cars and what looks like a motorized wheelbarrow going where you're trying to go at the same time you're tring to go there. They're crossing your path right to left as you are walking straight ahead. You may momentarily feel as though you are floating in a sea of careening metal. That is actually fairly accurate. But you are in no danger.

The biggest adjustment in coming back to Toronto isn't the language - in fact there are a ton of language students in my part of town right now, many of them hanging out in the Cumberland Centre food court and speaking Spanish to each other - but the smooth well regulated traffic with odourless cars whispering by in their own distinct lanes and not honking at each other all the time.

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