someone please explain the excessive watering of pavement.

ive noticed as summer passes through Skopje that my biggest pet peeve is pavement watering in its many forms. water conservation has definitely not reached Macedonia yet. people are always hosing down sidewalks and driveways and roads.

why do i hate it? for mostly silly and selfish reasons.
1. waste o' water.
2. mosquito prevelance may be directly related to the amount of standing water in the city.
3. its gross to wear sandals because the watering just leads to mud and grit.
4. i slip on wet pavement and tiles.
5. i see it as a huge waste of time.
6. it makes the city air feel humid.

this also extends to the street cleaning trucks too, which inspired my gripe today. i happened to see one turn right in front of me on the way to work which meant walking to work with my pant legs held up high and carefully trying not to step in puddles that building up in the uneven parts of the road. the truck was a tanker truck with jets in front, no scrubbing just power pushing. it manages to wet the streets without cleaning anything. i've seen some with brushes on them, i think, but even those just push crap around.

i have no clue what the motivation is behind the excessive watering, but ive made up a few of my own hypotheses that i find too amusing to actually kill by asking a HCN why they are watering the pavement.

A. Keep dust under control.
If its wet, its just mud and mud can't be blown around by the wind. However, when it dries in 20 minutes, you'll still have to wet it again. Its a futile battle if you ask me.

B. To counteract the cultural art of spitting.
Spitting is out of control. Its a real talent for some of the babas I've seen. I've seen an old woman shoot a spit bullet through a gap in her teeth that was so impressive, I wanted to try it- unfortunately, i don't have gaps big enough yet. But, I imagine spit builds up and maybe this is why the watering happens.

C. Stray dog excrement/garbage residue

D. its fun?

I've got an english speaking friend here, I guess its time to ask...


there is something obscenely wonderful about vast expanses of road that are dead empty at ungodly hours of morning.

i just returned from a 4:10am bike ride. marissa caught a cab to the airport at 330am and i figured, eh, im already up and i needed to get back over to karposh 4 side of town anyway. i left my house and within the 2 short turns it took to get on the main road, i already was taken back by how awesome it was that the city was silent. i had 2-3 lanes of pavement all to my biking self. i could disregard most street lights and i was wasnt worried about being mowed down by a city bus.

i remember that night shift as a toll collector held similar moments of awe and general fascination. between 3-5 am, the time when you can feel the chemicals in your body switching over for a new day, making you feel nauseous and restless and wanting sleep so bad, i would sit in the 9x booth in the middle of 15+ lanes of black road and marvel at how odd it was for this place to be so quiet. bizarre to think that in just 3 hours, the plaza would be hopping with commuter traffic to nyc. i would shut off my movies, stop reading, turn off my music and just enjoy the silence. i would risk a cigarette, even though i knew it would probably just make me feel more gross that late/early in the night/morning, knowing that no one else would see me or catch me smoking in the booth. its a good time for thinking.

it would be nice to say that i will get up at 4-5 am from now on and bike around skopje, but lets be realistic- it ain't going to happen. ill just have to remember the feeling of this particular ride through a ghost capital and hope that maybe it will inspire me at least once more to do it again.

on that note, im going back to bed.