Posted by Cris on March 29, 2007
We in the Northwest use our car horns fairly conservatively. There are about three words in the Northwestern car-horn vocabulary: the insistent “beeep!!” which translates as, “Get the @@#$ out of my way,” the friendlier “bep bep” of recognition (“Hey, youre on the sidewalk and I know you!”), and the “beeeep beeep!” which says, “Im waiting…”
Here in Addis, my eyes have been opened to a whole new language of car horn use. The taxi drivers are fluent in this language as I would never be. There is the beep saying, “Hey, youre white, do you need a taxi?” as they slow down and pause, causing a bottleneck in the road. This is usually responded to with the good ol’ “get the #%^ out of the way” beep, which they know here too. Then, when youre actually in the taxi, there is the “beep beep” that tells the other driver in front of them that theyll be passing on the left/right/sidewalk. There is a shorter, quicker succession of beeps saying, “watch out pedestrians, small children, and animals- Im not slowing down for anything.”
The best thing about the majority of these it theyre not angry beeps, just communication. It seems the roads are a lot more dangerous here (ok- they are), but at least the drivers know to talk to eachother as theyre accelerating towards stopped traffic while driving between two lanes.
My favorite store/business names here:
Y-Me Bridal Wear
Weeding Town Bridal
G-Unit Pool Hall
Talking to people after our very intimate massages the other day (Amy’s was eye-opening as well) it seems that its the norm here to have more *comprehensive* massages than at home. So we didnt commit a faux pas by not tipping her afterwards.