Friday, July 20, 2018

the sunburned zebra

Yesterday, we were talking about Nueva España, the main commercial street that runs through my part of Barra de Navidad (did a minotaur just get out of that car?).

But double parking is not the only challenge facing drivers. There are at least fourteen topes (speed bumps) on the first half mile of the street. Unmarked topes that blend into the surrounding concrete without betraying their presence until one dislodges the right front strut of your SUV.

From time to time, someone paints the topes in the busiest portion of the neighborhood. I think it was December last year when the topes were last painted. Or, I should say, the south half of each tope was painted yellow.

My brother and sister-in-law were late in coming down in January. About 6 weeks after the painting started. The week they arrived, the painter was back painting the northern halves.

By then, the paint had faded so badly on the southern halves that there was only a hint of yellow left. Like one of those Pompeii murals painted 2000 years ago. By the time they flew north in April, all of the paint was gone.

Someone must have thought the earlier experiment was worth repeating, because the painter is back. This time, a yellow zebra pattern is the motif.

Mexico is a practical country. The street is far too busy to block off to allow the painting to go on unmolested. The painter works in the midst of the chaotic traffic, using some caution tape to block off half of the tope for painting.

Earlier in the week, it was the turn of the southern halves to get tarted up. Today, the painter finished off the northern halves.

Of course, within a few weeks, there will be no proof that they were ever painted. Omar says that is because too much water is used in thinning the paint. He may be correct.

What baffles me is why anyone bothers with the paint job. Even though the topes are rather subtle, there is one at each corner of the street. If you are nearing a corner, you should be slowing for a tope.

Whether the whole concept of a tope is wise is a completely different discussion. They are designed to slow speeders. But the greatest speed violators are motorcycle riders -- and they simply zip around the ends of the topes on the verge of the road.

But, for a bit, my main street will look just like a street in one of those highfalutin big towns.

Can a McDonald's be too far behind?

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