23.02.2009 80 °F
I feel like most of my entries have taken a pretty positive tone, but I wanted to register some complaints before I leave:
- Traffic/Pollution: The city isn't some sort of traffic-choked hellhole, but the streets are very narrow and the buses are very old. Walking closer to downtown generally means that you have to walk within an arm's length of several buses on your way, and it's not pleasant.
- Claustrophobia: Similarly, those narrow sidewalks and streets tend to engender sort of a feeling of urban claustrophobia. Apart from the parks, there are no trees or plants of any kind on the streets downtown, so there's no break between the storefronts and the traffic. In addition, the city is completely, totally flat -- you can discern no grade of any kind. So you never feel like you're overlooking anything. You can only see straight down the street you're on.
- Urban Planning: The city is laid out on a grid where east-west streets are odd-numbered and north-south streets are even-numbered. This is really convenient for figuring out where to go, how to get there, and how far to go. I live on 55 between 62 and 64, so I know if something is on 57 between 58 and 60, it's about 2 or 3 blocks away. But! The building numbers are not similarly logical! Wouldn't it be easier to say Street 55, #626, and know therefore that it's between 62 and 64 and exactly which building all in one fell swoop? My building is instead #510B. And get this -- so is the building next door. They denoted it with a B, but then went ahead and did the same to the building next door! Why?! I've sent about 5 or 6 pizza deliverymen and couriers up the street. I feel that the US is the only place I've been with rational building numbering in most places. Maybe we can trade this brilliant invention to the rest of the world in exchange for metric volumes and distances?
- Sales Pitches: I really, really, really hate the patronizing "Amigo!" I get from shop owners when I walk past. Do I look like I'd look good in a Panama Hat? Maybe it's an instinct that's peculiarly Pennsylvania German, but I really don't want to be talked to when shopping unless I ask, much less be hustled into a tourist shop with that faux-friendly come-on.
Ok, I feel better. It's not such a bad list -- all minor things, really.