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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Welcome to the Jungle

It's true that South America has amazing expanses of tropical rainforests, mountains, and remote jungles.  But we live in a capital city dense with houses not trees, and delineated by narrow city streets instead of rivers.

The multi level cement houses are packed into each city block with mazes of gates, locked iron doors, and dark passageways connecting each living quarter.  Buses, taxis, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and horse drawn carts share the road without defined lanes, flowing rapidly through main arteries of the city like lumber jostling its way down a river.  The rivers suddenly converge and dump this disturbing mix into traffic circles as chaotic as thundering waterfalls.  And Mark wonders why I don't like driving anymore.

To walk from the bus stop to the shoe store, I hold on tight to Julia and Isaiah's hands to run across the spokes of the traffic circle, guessing whether or not the taxis and cars will choose to fly in my direction out of the spinning center. Yes, this is a pedestrian crossing.

I take a breath as I stand on a divider in between two lanes, buses flying by in both directions, waiting for my chance to cross yet another lane.  I am Jane, standing on a lone rock in the middle of the waterfall, ready to swing to safety on a vine while holding onto my precious children. 

Later, I board a bus and hear the driver's choice of music playing, "Welcome to the jungle...."  How appropriate.

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