Saturday, March 15, 2008

Out of Africa (a DC traffic story)...

In Senegal, taxi service may be cheap for the tourist or expatriate, but fares are well out of reach for the average citizen. Around town, the general mode of transport is to walk from place to place - and I did see a guy do so while successfully balancing 10 trays of eggs on his head.

But every so often, one needs a wheeled vehicle. Ingenuity being inherent to human nature, a solution evolved: the clandeux.*

* Not sure on the spelling. As it's unofficial, they don't really hand out flyers or post ads.

This is Senegalese for "dude * in car who gives people a ride for a few coins" sans papiers. " Basically, it's the gray area between hitchhiking and fleets of metered cabs, entrepreneurship that sees a need and uses a rusty-but-still-functional Peugeot to fill in the gaps.

* In most cases, a dude is driving. Though Senegal is one of the more liberal Muslim nations, with women active in government and well-represented in the universities, traditional divisions of labor generally prevail.

Yes, it's safe. Yes, you can trust the driver not to whisk you off to the Sahel and bury your dismembered limbs under the baobab tree.

What could this story possibly have to do with Washington, DC, the capital of the free world, leader of industry and commerce?

The Anti-DC, a very witty and observant local blogger, gives the low-down...


Post a Comment

<< Home