Monday, July 26, 2010

Red Light District: The eighth wonder of the world

There is an area on the edge of Monrovia called the Red Light District. Yup, you guessed it, this is where you can find the only traffic light in the city. And nope, it does not work. Instead of an orderly flow of traffic following green, yellow and red lights, you will find a mass of chaos. And I mean a MASS OF CHAOS. Thousands of people going this way and that way and back this way, selling everything you can possibly imagine (so far the most memorable are animal balloons, Jesus stickers, blow-up dolls, ice cream and Barak Obama everything). Taxis, buses, wheelbarrows, motorbikes, tractors and pedestrians are all navigating through pots holes, puddles of mud, piles of trash, market stalls, and city traffic.
One of my first experiences of Red Light was while squished in the back of a taxi cab with 3 other people (and 2 more in the front seat) after a rain storm while the humidity was on the rise for the afternoon. Let me mention here that 6 white people squished into a taxi sticks out like a sore thumb in a place like this. It took us one hour to make it through the mile long stretch. This did not include the few minutes we spent on the side of the road after our driver thought it was a good idea to pull over and ask the police officer to chauffeur him through the traffic (thinking that because we were white he would be more than happy to do this- he was wrong. Instead, the policeman took his keys because we had 2 people in the front seat, apparently against the law. After one of us got out and went in the back of the station wagon, he let us go). We bought ice cream (called FanMilk) and knock-off Oreos (called Neros) to pass the time. I swore from that day on I would never travel into or out of Monrovia unless it was before 6am or on a Sunday! Oh… or in UN transport.

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