I’ve observed that hand gestures, though in some sense equivalent to “signaling,” are quite different in effect. As traffic moves along, people wishing to turn into the road will at the first opening edge out and claim right of way. Someone in the car, driver or passenger, will wave the vehicle cut off to stop or slow down. When the turn is completed, the two drivers will then exchange waves of “thanks” and “your welcome.” Because all of this occurs in slow motion, it has a certain friendly quality, as if two villagers meeting in the town square. This cuts the edge off what would drive motorists in other countries crazy. Imagine moving down a road with paved area for two lanes. Three lanes of traffic are moving down it, two in one direction and the third in another. The two lanes in your direction are moving slow or approaching an intersection, the opposite “lane” is open for a couple of car lengths. Off you go into that lane, against the flow of traffic to reach your turn or just to move ahead. That third lane of traffic, now made a fourth, jerks over into the dirt until things sort out. Now the time it takes for that fourth lane to reestablish itself creates just enough space for someone else – such as a bus driver – to edge into traffic from a side street. Everybody is gesturing as circumstances demand. Meanwhile an old women with a child will launch into the river of vehicles fending off the various currents with her own waving. Remarkably no one seems to get angry – it is too hot – and there are few accidents.
A brief word about women. Almost all of the women in the street wear head covering. My guess is that the non-Moslem women from the south are the ones wearing the brightly colored wrappings. A good number wear what must be the more traditional black. (The Arab males get to wear white robes and headdress.) Only a few wear the complete chador. But I can only imagine that under the black bulk are some truly sweaty and uncomfortable people.