Friday, August 31, 2007

A Plaintiff Attorney's Dream

With our only full-time English television channel focusing solely on the tenth anniversary of the death of Princess Diana (at least they have moved on from seemingly 24 hour coverage of the 60th anniversary of Indian and Pakistani independence), we felt that it was time to talk about traffic. It is shocking that we have not witnessed an accident yet with traffic as crazy as it is.

Lea mentioned to Jani that there was a large traffic jam of tramvais and that she wondered if this was why the trams never came yesterday. Jani mentioned that as of yesterday, some streets had become one way. One was Kopernik Street, which goes along the side of our apartment. We had not noticed! But that could certainly cause enough traffic congestion to keep the trams from their routes. Walter had also mentioned that some streets had become one way shortly before our arrival. Traffic patterns change frequently in Lviv, apparently.

The traffic here is outrageous. Cars run red lights constantly, horns and screeching brakes can be heard at all hours of the night, and pedestrians cross at their own peril, even in crosswalks. Lines denoting lanes are only decorative - they do not seem to constrain the behavior of drivers. People in Lawrence complain about traffic and build roundabouts and traffic islands to protect pedestrians. Lawrencians have no idea what real traffic is.

Today, Carter and Lea met Jani and Thomas at the Park of Culture to try to find horse chestnuts. This was a great old Soviet park with a grand entrance, a large circle at the top with nothing in it (one could easily imagine Lenin there), and huge, grand staircases (not the best with the stroller). Unfortunately, the horse chestnuts, or buckeyes, or conkers, had not fallen, so the foursome decided to go across the street to another park that had a newer playground. At the exit of the park, there was a huge Soviet war memorial. They heard singing just before crossing the street, and found a large group of men in uniforms marching and singing with a military band. The boys really enjoyed watching the performance, and it was great sound accompaniment for the memorial just across the street. After the park, Lea and Carter returned home, crossing the same streets. One can find crosswalks, but the drivers going about 40 mph do not seem to care at all. It was a long wait for the road to clear enough to run across. And that is something one has to do often here - run for your life across the street.

P.S. The water came back on around 9 p.m. last night. It was off for around 6 hours or so.

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