Here you see two photographs. You can clearly see what they are. No trickery, no sleight of hand. I want you to tell me the difference between the two.
If we ignore the background and concentrate on the object in the pictures, they would appear to both be the same.
And yet, there is a difference, a real noticeable difference, although possibly not noticeable if you’ve not travelled much.
Living as I do in Western Europe, where the first picture comes from, the traffic light is a tall, skinny policeman, unmoving, blinking with his three different coloured eyes, and omnipotent. Just the simple act of changing the illuminated colour, controls countless vehicles of all size and shapes, day and night irrespective of weather. Whilst there are occasional challenges to its authority, they are rare, and are generally punished.
In other parts of the world though, they are more akin to street art. To be looked at, sometimes to be stopped at, other times to be tutted at, or completely ignored. My girlfriend was horrified last year in Istanbul when our taxi driver, on arriving at a junction with a queue of at least a mile in our intended direction of travel, took a quick left turn through a red light thus avoiding the minimum half hour delay.
The second picture comes from Mauritania. This particular one is on a very busy junction, but to all intents and purposes it may as well not be there. It appears to be shrouded in an invisibility cloak, only visible to a special few. I have noticed that, certainly in West Africa, very few people seem to wear the proper visual correction to be enable the lights to be visible. I’m so used to it these days, that when, at 5 AM this morning, my driver drove though a red light and we almost had a crash, I didn’t even question the light, it was more the speed of the driver from the right (through a green light) that caused me concern.