One of the most intriguing things that i noticed during my short visit to Lahore, Pakistan last week were the product names for the local motor cycles. In Lahore the Honda 70 (and its various knock-offs from local brands) is a near ubiquitous motor cycle that seems to be the primary means of transport for the cities less affluent inhabitants. At some point, while walking through the old city i noticed that the product name of the Honda is Cash Forever 70 (or CD70). As it turns out all of the knock-off versions als have cash-themed names. Cash Forever (Road Prince), Hot Cash (BMC) and Urgent Sale (United):
BMC gets extra points for appropriating the BMW logo for their brand.
Back in december when walking through Damascus I ran into this mountain bike rigged up with small combustion engine:
If you ask me this is quite a marvel of engineering and although I never spotted a second one during the 3 days that I spend in Damascus I am pretty certain that this is not a unique modification but rather one of many that are produced in some back alley workshop. If anyone has seen more of these or has additional information about these please do let me know…
… so i am back from Iran after having spend the last two days in Tehran. it is pretty much difficult to make sense of Teheran in 4 days, which is probably due to the sheer size of the place. there are about 14 million people living in the metropolitan area of Tehran and one would guess that at most 5 of them are working as city planners. On the other hand every second inhabitant has at least one car (either a pre-historic Paykan or a grey Peugeot 206) which, during rush hour, is too much for the extensive highway system to absorb.
The metropolis of Tehran enjoys a huge network of highways (280 km) and of interchanges, ramps & loops (180km). In 2007 there were 130 kilometers of highways and 120 kilometers of ramps and loops under construction. [source: wikipedia]
Highways or not, during rush hour it takes at least 90 minutes to get from the southern end of the city center to the northern end of the city center. unfortunately public transport does not really offer a viable alternative
In 2001 a metro system that had been in planning since the 1970s opened the first two of seven envisaged lines. Work has been slow and coverage remains very limited. Development of the Tehran metro system had been interrupted by the Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War. Problems arising from the late completion of the metro led to buses taking on the role of the metro lines, serving mainly long distance routes. Taxis filled the void for local journeys. The taxis only drive on main avenues, and only within the local area, so it may be necessary to take several taxis to get to one’s final destination. [source: wikipedia]
The only for of transport that will get you from A to B fairly efficiently (and cheaply, a cross town ride is less than €1) are motorcycle taxis. They are a bit difficult to spot (as they are just regular motorcycles cruising the streets) but once you have managed to spot them they make the city much more accessible. Of course it helps to have a bit of a death-whish (the driver has a helmet and you don’t and they will go pretty fast on stretches of highway where the traffic is relatively light) but then it is actually really good fun…