November 21, 2006

Happy trails to you!

Speaking of traffic...

You think you have traffic jams in the first world? How about if there is only one two-lane road between cities and it looks like this for 8 hours:

This is called "tomando las calles" (taking the streets) which is what the protest groups (teachers, taxi drivers, bus drivers, farmers, you name it) do at least weekly in some part of the country. Earlier this week it was the bus drivers in La Ceiba.

Since there is only one highway between most cities, taking the streets and stopping the traffic paralyzes the cities beyond. Despite that, the protesters rarely get more than false promises about their grievances.

Thinking about taking the bus to avoid the hassle of driving with all the maniacal Honduran drivers? Well, at least once a week, you may end up like this:

In this case, the bus driver was drunk according to the passengers. Amazingly, no one was killed, but 28 were injured, 7 were critical at the time of the article. Often the accidents are a result of speeding, passing on blind curves, other reckless driving, or inadequately maintained vehicles.

In case you didn't know, Central America and Mexico are where all the old school buses go once they have been determined to be unsafe for North American children. They are used for public transportation. Sometimes they are painted other colors, sometimes not.

Okay, lets say you only need to get around town so you decide to go ahead and drive. Watch out for those potholes:

Often the potholes are so big that people put tree branches sticking out of them as a warning to drivers.

Parking can be a little dangerous, too:

I guess he didn't notice the tree branch sticking out of the hole.

Think it might be safer just to walk? Don't expect to sight see; be sure to keep your head down and eyes open:

Note the tree branch sticking out of the hole beside the sidewalk.

Happy traveling!

(All photos: La Prensa, Honduras)
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