Wednesday, June 14, 2006


The three most important safety rules in Africa*:

1. Watch the cars.

2. Watch the cars.

3. Watch the cars.

*With thanks to Will Masters

There are lots of crazy vehicles here, especially taxis with colorful religious or inspirational slogans professionally painted on the back bumper.

Most Monrovians appear to travel by taxi and small van. [Actually, scratch that. Most Monrovians travel on foot.] Auto traffic in town moves slowly, not so much because of gridlock but because of the many potholes. Horns are honked incessantly, since many (most?) cars are taxis trolling for riders to stuff into the back seat. If you can find an empty one, a taxi ride by yourself of about 2 miles will cost you a little less than US$2, which ain’t cheap by Liberian standards. For that price, the driver will not pick anyone else up along the way, and you can watch the jealous taxi-flaggers as you go by. If you don’t mind riding with 2-8 other people, the ride will be cheaper and much slower. The cabs themselves are generally in abysmal condition, with dead shocks, holes in the floor, no seat belts, and many missing or broken parts. Luckily they don’t go very fast! Taxis in Monrovia are controlled by four Liberian-owned companies, according to one driver I had recently.


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