This post has been moved to blogspot. No further posts will be made to this location.
The title of this post is something that Laura said this morning. Looking around Ottawa, people cross the road when the little cross walk guy says so, they don't have to often worry about 2 way traffic on a one way street, and no one worries about being run down by a scooter on the sidewalk.
On our trip, if there wasn't stairs preventing you from getting to a place, it was fair game for scooters. Traffic lights were more like suggestions. 2 way traffic on a 1 way road meant "try and stay single file if driving in the wrong direction". "Right of way" meant "biggest guy wins". Walking around could send the heart racing with the danger involved. In a couple of places I would sing my crossing-the-street song which went a little like "just don't die... just don't die... baby steps.... just don't die".
Really it was just about the "slow walk" in order for the scooters to break around you like the water in rapids breaks around a rock. If you sped up or slowed down unexpectedly you would cause problems. You also had to figure out which people wouldn't actually yield to you and pause while this went on.
People in SEA have much different comfort levels of personal space, including when driving / walking. In Saigon when we were going from the airport to our hotel, our driver was driving so close to the people on the road (because there wasn't a side walk) that a guy paused lifting up a smoke to his face because the van side mirror was passing between his hand and face. In Ottawa if you get within 6 feet of someone they would yell at you for "almost hitting them".
Now we're back, it's sort of nice not having that amount of stress crossing the road. Since I've been at work, I've hardly checked if I was about to be run over by a scooter on the sidewalk.Posted by jim at February 19, 2010 07:09 PM