Friday, October 7, 2011

Ten Day Blogging Challenge: Day 6

Tell about an "Only in Dominica..." moment.

My God. This one's hard, because I feel like I come across these all the freaking time. I think most of the gems can be found in my blog posts about trying to start a business, and being driven mad by the bureaucracy. The most recent one, certainly not the greatest, has to do with the crosswalk that was recently installed.

For those who have never been here, you have to understand that there isn't a single traffic light in the entire country; cars just make it on their own, and pedestrians scurry from place to place, largely unharmed. Not a pretty system, but there isn't a lot of traffic anywhere, so it's not really necessary. Plus the country has no money, so why spend money on these things?

So, recently Ross built an extra lecture building across the street from the campus, across the "main road" in town, which is really not terribly busy and is covered in speed bumps anyways. Not precarious at all. They've recently added a crosswalk to connect the two buildings. Cool beans, there are children and families and dog walkers and all that jazz, and what's the harm in some paint. I guess that wasn't making the cut, so they installed these colossal yellow crosswalk signs, with frames that blink an obnoxiously bright flashing yellow when a button is pressed on either side of the street. Again, excessive but fine, there're stupid drivers everywhere, and the streetlights here aren't the brightest, so why not err on the side of caution.

The "only in Dominica" part is that Ross now has a full-time security guard manning the crosswalk, whose job is to: (1) notice people who are about to use the crosswalk, then (2) press the button for them. So now it's on all the time. In a country without traffic lights, the one community of largely white rich people has thoroughly invested in a blinking crosswalk sign that can be seen from a mile away.

The overkill protection on what is really already a very safe street is just obscene. Only in Dominica. Or I guess just Picard.

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