You think Los Angeles has traffic? A sigalert on the 405 is a first world problem. Here in the capital of Ethiopia, the sigalert on weekdays never ends. Getting anywhere involves inching through traffic in a wheezing Soviet-era Lada taxi.
The congestion is widely blamed on construction of a light rail system that is supposed to be finished in less than two years. Watching workers chip away at the project with hand tools and the occasional earth mover, you get the feeling that 20 years would be more realistic.
Construction here moves as slowly as the traffic. Except for the main arteries, few roads are paved. Cars and trucks compete for space with herds of sheep and goats, and donkeys hauling cement to endless blocks of half-fisnished apartment buildings. In the downtown area, the unfinished buildings are taller. People cram into buses or line up to fill private vans that ply the main routes. It’s the commute from hell.