Day 11 – the Challenge of Crossing Chisinau’s roads…

My day was almost identical as last Tuesday – trip to the park and Romanian language lesson. So I’ve decided to blog about crossing the road instead!

The first challenge is a personal one… I am from one of the few countries that has cars driving on the left hand side of the road. I also live in a pretty small city that has mainly single and double carriageways. So, to be faced with numerous three lane roads with the traffic on the right is somewhat baffling for me!

Then there is the unique ‘Chișinău Challenge’. My observations would suggest that the locals are no clearer on road crossing etiquette than I am. All crossings are marked with white striped walkways, much like zebra crossings in the UK. Some have red and green men lights for pedestrians, others don’t. Some have the red and green men lights obscured and pointing at a different angle to your crossing. Others have the red and green men five or ten meters aways from the crossing. Some are operated by a button. Some have a button, that doesn’t work. Some don’t have red and green men, but a full set of normal traffic lights.

So, each time I get to a new crossing it’s a bit like a game of ‘Where’s Wally?’ But instead ‘spot the signal, that may or may not be there while locating the button that may or may not be there and might not work’.

But that’s not all! I still haven’t worked out what it actually means when the green man, that I’ve spent an eternity hunting for, actually lights up. I know it does not mean ‘it’s safe for you to cross, no traffic will be moving’. It may mean ‘you now have right of way, but traffic will still be approaching’, I suspect the actual meaning is ‘there is now only traffic approaching you from three directions, good luck!’.

Oh, and as for the crossings that definitely don’t have a green man? They seem to mean nothing at all as the traffic doesn’t stop for you.

My technique for road crossing involves finding a local to tag along behind, in the vain hope that they know what’s happening and at the very least there may be some ‘safety in numbers’.

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