LAGOS AND SÃO PAULO
“WHERE would you rather be?” asks a bumper sticker on the back of a rickety-looking Toyota Corolla. It is an advertisement for a hotel—and a question that people might well ask themselves. The words on the sticker are so small that they could be read only by a driver a few feet behind the Corolla while both cars were motionless. In Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city, it is a dead certainty that plenty of people will be stuck in just that position.
Much of life in Lagos is spent in traffic or trying to avoid it. Peter Elias, a lecturer in planning at the University of Lagos, says that the jams usually begin around six in the morning and last at least until nine. From one to three in the afternoon, parents picking up their children from school clog the roads again. Then Lagos slides into the evening rush hour, which can last until eight or nine. Traffic moves so slowly that one roundabout has a wraparound television screen to entertain drivers. At Victoria Island, the old commercial centre, many workers go straight from their offices to nearby bars to sit out the worst of it.
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