Thursday, November 20, 2008

A foot traffic lesson

The streets and walkways of Hong Kong can be crazy. As you have seen in some of my pictures, and as you can imagine from other images of the city, there are a lot of people walking around at any given moment of the day. I get off the school bus every evening at the Ferry Terminals and I have a 20 minute trek home, through the International Finance Center, across a few foot bridges and building connectors, and then up the Mid-levels Escalator through the rush hour foot of Central Hong Kong. My feet don't touch a sidewalk and I don't cross a single street in that entire journey because I am one level above the streets the whole time. I am nicely removed from the vehicle traffic and yet, sometimes, it feels like I am a vehicle. I have learned the skill of crowd walking, and believe me, I didn't know how to do this very well when I first arrived. Now I maneuver through the crowd, keeping a safe pace, trying to stay on the correct side (which is hard here because people drive on the left, but have no definite walking side), aware of every little thing around me. Like the oblivious tourists taking pictures (stumbling straight across the steady flow with little awareness of how this all works, much like me when I first arrived), the arrogant head-down texters on their mobile devices with a 2 meter buffer of empty space around them as people carefully divert their paths, the iPod rhythm walkers, the slow old men, the uber-rushed business suits and the swarms of students in uniform who walk in tight groups of 10 or more. I noticed tonight as I walked home that I did a quick blind-spot check over my left shoulder as I made my way across and down the stairs at IFC. I had my iPod on (I am a rhythm walker) and it was so subtle, so natural, and yet so traffic-like.

1 comment:

Bonnie said...

Maybe you should get one of those beany caps with side view mirrors.