Monday, July 14, 2008

Obstacle Courses

No, I'm not going to tell you that I'm training for the Olympic Games in China, even though I DO have something in common with athletes, mainly a tendency to hurt myself. Having recovered from the latest injury (to my right hip), I'm proud of the fact that I have resumed my long walks in the Botanical Garden. But that's not where I face a daily obstacle course and have plenty of opportunities to acquire new bruises. No, I'm talking about the sidewalks of Rio. And I'm not referring to the small black and white stones in different patterns that make it impossible for a woman to wear high heels; one of those gets loose and you're bound to slip and fall. And I don't even mean the street peddlers who spread their wares wherever they can. I mean the iron posts, cement blocks, planters, and assorted other impediments to the free flow of pedestrians. Do you want to know why they're there? In typical Rio-style, it's to prevent cars from parking on the sidewalks. Wouldn't it be simpler to slap the owners with a hefty fine and tow their beloved Fiats and Peugeots? Not in this city where everything seems to function according to a perverse logic. And yes, I've managed to walk right into one of these hurdles one evening a few years ago and still have a collection of small scars on my left shin as a souvenir.

So, here's another thing I marvel at when I go to Miami: I can actually walk around town without having to weave my way through a hodgepodge of obstructions to circulation.

I took these pictures one very lovely afternoon in Urca: the first one perfectly illustrates this little story. The other...well, don't we all have moments when we wish this crazy metropolis was this serene and bucolic? Ah! Notice the good, old, plain sidewalk by the bay!


Anonymous zandria said...

Those obstacles are there to keep cars from parking on the sidewalk? Craziness! I love how I learn something new every day. :)

Thanks for commenting on my post at BlogHer!

July 29, 2008 6:20 PM  

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