Monday, September 5, 2011

Movie Monday (is finally back): Stopping Traffic

 The most courageous people I have met in Almaty are the traffic police.  I am not referring to the ones who zip around in their little cars pulling people over for crossing the double white line or for failing to stop for a pedestrian - yes, drivers here frequently destroy their tires as they screech to a halt at a "zebra cross" (named that because of the stripes, not because any zebras actually cross the street there), but to the guys who stand in the middle of a rush hour intersection with a whistle and a red flashing stick and try to restore flow to the gridlock.

The intersection my apartment building is on is one of the craziest in the city.  It is odd, because in daylight it seems only moderately busy, but during the evening rush hours (between 5pm and 9pm) it turns into a complete zoo.  Most evenings there is a traffic policeman with his radio and his flashing neon night stick directing traffic.  As he works to restore flow to a given street, the cars on the cross street become increasingly, well...cross.  A chorus of horn honking crescendos until the traffic cop finally screeches on his whistle and holds the blinking stick high above his head much like a warrior with a gleaming sword signaling the start of some epic battle.  All traffic comes to a stop and with an expert twirl of the nightstick, he restarts a new line of cars through the intersection.

And so for "Movie Monday"  I bring you two minutes of horn honking and whistle blowing captured from my balcony.  Enjoy.

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