Sunday, May 14, 2006


I can't predict what Italian drivers are about to do. Of course, I am hampered by the fact that, as in about two-thirds of the world's countries, they insist on driving on the "wrong" side of the road! And it probably doesn't help that I don't drive myself.

I have just read that it is more difficult to be a pedestrian than a driver when you "change sides", so to speak, and I think this is true.

So, when the Sicilians are reversing in or out of seemingly impossible spaces in the little square near the flat, I can't work out what their next move will be. In Britain, especially if you are walking a dog, a driver will usually wave you on or at least give you some indication of his / her intentions, but that doesn't happen here.

They park right across pedestrian crossings, too, and you have to be careful when using these as the sun fades them and drivers aren't always aware of their existence; and even when they are, they don't necessarily stop for you!

I've got braver about crossing the road than when I first arrived, having realised that you have got to take your life in your hands and step onto the crossing: no one will stop for you if you wait on the pavement, as they will in Britain. But here they only look as if they are going to mow you down - they won't actually do it!

There are no traffic lights in the whole of Modica! At one time there was one set right at the far end of the Via Sacro Cuore and I remember Irma, in particular, regarding this as a terrible imposition. There are, however, plenty of eagle-eyed traffic wardens and their shrill whistles can be heard punctuating the roaring of the motorini, the beeping of car horns and the whole chaotic cacophony of the rush hour.

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