Tuesday, February 9, 2010

City Traffic and Street Vendors

Mid-morning on Sunday, my husband and I made a trip across the city to the mall. Sunday is the first day of the week in Sudan and the traffic is always very congested on this day.

We spent almost two hours in a grid-lock in the city centre.

At one of the island intersections my husband gave a driver in a white car a chance to get through. As his vehicle was pointing directly across the traffic, I watched with interest to see where he was going. In the photo above, you can just see his front windscreen in the bottom left hand corner. You can also see the proximity of this vehicle to the front of ours (I took this photo sitting in the front seat of our ute) and how he is easing past the back of the car on his left with only inches to spare!

I managed to get another photo of him as he crossed our path. It was only when I downloaded the image, that I saw he was consulting a map while driving (if you enlarge the photo, you will see the map across the steering wheel) He was heading diagonally back into our flow of traffic. My husband waved encouragingly at the passenger in the backseat. He was obviously a foreigner on business in Khartoum and looked a little anxious at the situation he found himself in!
The photo above shows the traffic that the white-car driver managed to cross. (I kid you not!) In Khartoum traffic everyone is calm and whenever you can, you give the other guy a chance. There is no such thing as road rage in this city.

At the next intersection, we had to turn left but this time we had to wait for our turn to enter the lane of traffic. It wasn't long and we were given a chance by a considerate motorist coming the other way.
It always fascinates me how the street vendors weave their way through the cars at traffic lights. They sell all manner of goods. Carpets, steering wheel covers (very popular) children's shoes, ornaments, electric irons, and kettles, bathtowels, cell phone cards, sets of glasses, toys, windshield sunscreens, and much more. They display one item in their hand and have several others in a large plastic bag which is hooked over their heads. My husband always buys our facial tissues from these vendors. In the supermarket, a single box containing 70 2 ply tissues, costs SDG3/US$1.20. At the vendors you get 3 boxes for SG5/US$2. A bargain in anyone's language.

Above, my husband counts SDG5 for the eager vendor. I have watched these vendors with interest while we wait in the traffic. They seem to have a strategy and go to the cars furtherest from the lights. This is to prevent losing an item because the light has turned green and the driver has had to move on. Once I saw this happen. The vendor made a mad dash into the intersection to the other side of the road. Fortunately the driver had stopped off the road and was obviously waiting to pay for his wares. I felt good when I saw this; I think the vendor was relieved!

Our supply of tissues for the home

If you'd like to see how other people's worlds are doing, click here.

Thanks Klaus, Sandy, Wren, Fishing Guy and Sylvia for the opportunity to share my world on your meme.


  1. Similar to the Manila, where ever you have traffic, you have vendors wading through the cars selling all sorts of things... from water to fruits to toys.

  2. Jo: It looks like your tissue has a smile written on the box. I don't like to sit in traffic.

  3. Awe---being such an impatient person, I would not want to be stuck in a traffic jam.. But--I'll bet there is alot to see while waiting...

    I just don't do well in crowds --or in places where I feel stuck. I remember one time when we went to a college football game --and almost got trampled by tons of people going the opposite direction. That experience made me realize that I'm not one to be around crowds or crowded conditions.

    Glad you got your comments fixed.

  4. Hi Jo,
    Your posts are always so interesting to read.
    When I was a little girl, my dad, who was in the RAF was sationed on Gibraltar and we used to go to Spain a lot. I remember all the vendors that would come up to the car with all kinds of things to sell, and I remember they used to scare me!
    Sunny :)

  5. Oh God...what traffic but at least they are all calm and polite!!! We have nothing here that equals. No street vendors either but they do in larger cities than ours.


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo