Anyway, on the off chance that you might actually end up in Khartoum (because of something bad you did) and have to drive, I figured I should document some of the rules of the road here,:
- Navigating the Mean Streets of Khartoum: as I mentioned in my last post, do not assume that any road here has an official "name" that is recognized by all. I find that it is particularly useful to just go ahead and name them whatever you feel like and then tell people that is its name....but do so with AUTHORITAY.... as if the person you are giving the directions to is the idiot. Works every time. "Turn Left on Burned out Donkey Carcass Road, and then Right onto "S" road. Airport is on your right" Soon, they'll just name that shit after what you said. Trust me, it works. *unless your name is Josh, and he questions your premise... In this case, yell "LIAR!" and run away.
- Stick in the Road = Certain Death. At some point in your day while driving along, minding your own business (probably singing at the top of your lungs to the new Miley Cyrus Song) you will likely see what appears to be a branch sticking out of the road. Please be advised that this tiny branch has been placed there to signal that you are going to die if you continue in this path. The Sudanese Department of Transportation has apparently done the research and has determined that a small twig (sometimes with small leaves on it, but not always - I have not determined whether the leaves indicate a level of pain that will be involved in your imminent death yet - serves as an obvious indicator that the earth has opened up in that location and a large crater is there that will swallow your entire vehicle. Another indicator is when you see a car upended into said crater (usually with a branch hanging precariously on the hood) -- that also serves as an indicator that you shouldn't drive there.
- Yielding the Right of Way. There is no right of way. Just keep going and hope for the best.
- Turning Left. Frankly, it's best to try to avoid having to do this - I try to just keeping making right hand turns until you end up going the way you wanted to go in the first place. HOWEVER, I understand that sometimes a left hand turn cannot be avoided. If this happens, you need to just turn directly into the traffic. If you wait, cars that are turning left from the street you intend to turn onto will all go in front of you and/or fill up the entire street you are trying to turn onto because they all want to turn first. So, I usually just close my eyes and hope for the best.
- Pedestrians. Pedestrians have the right of way and feel like they should be able to walk down the middle of road and/or cross when it is convenient for them. Pedestrians are apparently not required to look before they step out into traffic and it is up to you, the driver, to avoid them. It's like playing Mariocart....but with people.....and maybe a monkey or two....
- Trash in the Road. Do NOT, under any circumstances, assume that the trash you see in the road is just a piece of paper or a plastic bag. Trash can also be used to mark large jagged pieces of metal the Sudanese sometimes like to keep in the road and/or indicate a disabled car, camel or donkey up ahead. ALSO, it might be someone's stuff they're keeping for later. They get really pissed if you run over their shit.
Also, I like to carry US Dollars and throw them out behind me while I run away. I like to think that it will potentially slow down the crowd. This is important. Remember what continent the winners are from in the Boston Marathon!
It's almost never a diplomat from Montana.