Thursday, 19 June 2014

An unusual sight in modern times

As I walked to Aro Ling Cardiff this morning, I was struck by the unusual nature of this scene.

No, I do not mean the blue sky! This is Court Road without a single parked car. I am certain that I have never seen this road empty before.

It is said that in the Wild West, walking was what you did to get to your horse. In modern times in the West, walking is what you do to get to your car. It is also notable that the street is completely empty. As I walk to work I see few pedestrians – usually just a few dog walkers. It is not until I approach the shopping area of Whitchurch Village that I start to see people on foot. I see even fewer people walking in inclement weather and in the winter.

I am struck by the contrast of my experience of Kathmandu.

There everyone lives and conducts their social and business life on the street as much as in their homes. This one of the things I enjoy about being in Nepal. Perhaps it has something to do with climate. It does rain a lot in Wales so it is not practical to be out on the streets so much. I suspect, however, that cars have a great deal to do with the structure of modern society.

I am not anti-car – we have one; I enjoy driving it; I value its convenience. We did not own a car for about 10 years and life was quite hard. I damaged my knees hauling shopping home, and little fat children to and from school in a trailer pulled by my bicycle. I would not go back to not having a car, but I try to use it only when it is necessary and walk to work even in the rain.

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