Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Sidewalk

Yes, things in China are so exciting that even the sidewalk gets its own entry. That, and I use this website to track how many people come to this website (1,000 unique visitors exactly, for the interested), and I've noticed that a few people have found this blog from random searches on Google: "how much is 1 Kuai worth"; "chinese family dinners"; "what are the importances of fireworks in china"; and so on. I'm really hoping someone searches for "sidewalks in China" or maybe "how not to build a sidewalk." This would be my corresponding lecture.

This picture that I took today shows everything I want to talk about. There are 8 things you should notice.

1. It's sunny. Depending on where you're reading this from, seeing the shadows might not make you that excited, but you should really appreciate how significant this is. Today the weather was fabulous, and the sidewalk shows it.

2. The colored strip of sidewalk running into the distance. It's for the blind. Why is it colored for people who can't see? I have no idea. It's textured, though, so you can feel it if you use a cane and don't wander into the road. It also feels uncomfortable through your shoes, so you walk on one or the other side and always feel weird for not using the space you have. This strip is everywhere.

3. The sidewalk is made of tiles. When it's rainy and we feel like we're going to fall just by walking, we wonder why Chengdu made its sidewalks out of really slippery material.

4. The random blue tiles. Things get switched up occasionally, although they aren't always precise about patterns. It's like they think the color is variety enough and where the tile goes doesn't matter as much. I saw a stack of tiles today walking home from dinner, and was tempted to take one, but I didn't know what I would do with it.

5. The tiles that aren't firmly set. When it rains, they get water under them and if you walk the wrong way it splashes you. You have to be on the lookout for tiles like the one where the orange and blue tiles intersect. (Coming from UF, I'm also going to mention that where there's orange and blue, you always need to be on the lookout.)

6. The dotted tiles when the blind path changes direction. It's really useful, and in most cases Chengdu has that kind of tile to warn you that the sidewalk is ending. It's a different color, though, and I think it looks ugly. Speaking of which, though...

7. The dirtiness. Public cleanliness is not a high priority for Chinese. They prefer to have their own private space that they can control and abandon public spaces for the public. I find this ironic considering China's governmental structure.

8. The car on the sidewalk. Sidewalks are so spacious here that restaurants use them for parking. It drives me crazy that at night there are cars that get in my way as I walk home.

1 comment:

T.C. said...

wow sidewalks in China sure are different. if you could find a place in your blog to mention-is there a video of you and Rebecka reading your poem?