September 02, 2014

Somebody Train These Guys

Upcoming traffic in MY lane
I have lived here for a very long time. Longer than quite a few of you have been on this Earth. But what can I tell you. I still experience situations in which I think, “Are you  kidding? You can’t be serious!”
Today  I had one of those moments. I had to go to Ouzai to look at something. Ouzai is probably not the best places as far as traffic is concerned, and rush hour doesn’t make it any better.

Officially, the main road in Ouzai is a four lane road - the Ouzai Road - with a divider: 2 going north, 2 going south. Today, because it was so busy, the people going south decided to take up one lane of the opposite traffic, so they could get wherever they were going faster. This created huge back-up traffic going north, which, in turn, decided to take one lane of the opposite direction, in order to get, wherever they were going to go, faster. I think I was stuck in this noodle for some 3 hours.

This guy got upset with me because I was holding up traffic to take a picture with my cell phone. But I wanted to take a picture of him because he was on his cell phone. (It's in his right hand)
But you see,  it’s busy every day. Logically speaking, you’d place policemen in those places where cars could possibly change lanes into the opposite directions. That is logically speaking.  But I am afraid that when it gets to running traffic, the Beirut traffic police is one notorious bunch. They’re either on their phones, chatting with service drivers whom they know from the  village, talking with each other, or just waving you on, regardless of the fact that cross traffic continuous to come in and 150 miles an hour.
Today was no different. No, I’d have to say, today was probably one of their most notorious days yet. People driving on the wrong side of the road, turning in the middle of the road, driving in the opposite directions of a roundabout, you name it, I saw it. And they just waved left and right.
Okay, this is still my road (two lanes, officially) , get it? But can't really go anywhere.
 Who trains these people? It’s no argument to say that Lebanese people are bad drivers, because they are not. They are assertive and flexible. Okay, so they do not follow the rules, but why would you, if you have a police force that will not hold you accountable if you don’t, no, what’s even more, they will allow it, asking the others to adapt. When I went around the roundabout and got blocked by a lady going in the opposite direction, the policeman admonished me for the fact I made no way for her to pass. Of course, when you openly question their skills, insult them, and ask them where on earth they got their training, they won’t get offended either. “Yella yella ochti, sou’q” (Go go sister, drive on), so the knife cuts both ways.
  But seriously, somebody please invest some money to properly train these guys. The level of incompetency is so horrendous; I could put a group of middle schoolers in this position and you’d probably get the same results.
Well, it's a two lane going north, but now it's become a 3-lane, with one lane for upcoming traffic. And no policeman in sight.
I got my Zen back now, so no worries. But the thing I was going to look at and eventually buy, is not going to be bought (from there). The thought of having to brave that traffic again, is enough to drop it. Poor shopkeeper. He tried so hard.

UPDATE: I should have downloaded this app!!!!!


Anonymous said...

That was hilarious. Poor Sieske.

Fadi said...

Oh wow I've never been in such a horrible traffic situation, I dread driving during the day in Beirut. It's the chaos and disrespect to all thinkable rules and common courtesy that gets me more than the traffic.

Fadi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The police is not the only one who needs training.
I feel sorry for the policeman.

Anonymous said...

you have been living in Beirut for years.
So stop bitching about it. That's the way it is and will never change.
you are in Lebanon not in US or Europe
get over it.....

if you understand the problem
you have no problem!