Saturday, August 11, 2007

Things that make you go "What the....? in Sicily

* Most public parks have no grass. Beautiful trees and hedging, but just hard dirt underfoot. Of course it’s more practical in this climate, but it just seems strange.

* I’ve seen dozens of families driving along with their children not wearing seatbelts, just bouncing around loose in the back or sitting on mum’s knee in the front. Scary.

* One-way streets that aren’t. It’s quite alarming to turn into a 5 lane main street in a taxi and come face to face with 5 lanes all coming your way! The system is that the fifth lane is for taxis and buses to use when going in the opposite direction. However if no buses or taxis are currently using their lane, anyone can. They just need to get out of the way in time when they see an oncoming vehicle, and it’s quite a scramble to see!

* Only tourists seem to validate their tickets on buses (and even some of us sometimes get a free ride!) However last Sunday we were on a bus when an inspector got on, and it was quite a sight watching everyone suddenly jumping up and looking terribly law-abiding as they lined up to poke their biglietti in the machines.

* Cars aren’t exactly parked here in Palermo, rather they are abandoned. On the footpath (so pedestrians have to detour and walk on the road), in bus stops, sideways, double-and triple-parked. Someone here at the conference actually saw a driver stop his Smart car the other day, then get out and lift it to manoeuvre it into the tiny space!

How's this for nifty parking? This one was in Rome.

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