Friday, July 1, 2011
Look Left, Look Right, Look Left Again
In the classic children film Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Kris Kringle teaches Winter Warlock how to walk with a song stating, “if you put one foot in front of another…” In Perpignan I find myself singing the same song in my head. However it is not all gum drops and sugar plums while walking in a city, especially a foreign one.
When I think of what I have experienced in my short stay in Perpignan so far, walking comes to my mind. I walk everywhere in Perpignan. I’m not complaining. I actually enjoy it. I think walking around an area is the best way to get to know it. However, when I compare walking in Perpignan to walking in the United States, I can see differences. One small thing is where the street signs are placed. In the U.S., the street signs tend to be place on an intersection of two streets to tell someone when to turn or where they are. However, I have observed that the street signs are placed on the buildings, which can be very confusing especially to someone not from the area. Also, the crosswalk at a streetlight is another thing I still need to get use to. Back in the States I can time out to the T when I can start walking across (using the crosswalk signs, not j-walking). While I wait to cross, I mostly look at the streetlights to tell me when to cross not the crosswalk sign. I wait eagerly for the yellow light to turn red and then I’m off. Here in Perpignan the location of the signs makes it difficult for me to count down the “it’s alright to cross.” I want to add one last observation. No matter what crosswalk you want to cross, cars don’t halt for a pedestrian. When I learned how to drive, stopping for a pedestrian was the golden rule. Here I would get frustrated at the cars for not stopping. I need to remember that the golden rule here for driving differs from the States.
My walking will continue around this beautiful city. More stories and observations awaits.