Take My Hand / And lead me to the promised land

Foot­paths in Bali, in fact, in Indone­sia, are rarely what we would call foot­paths else­where.

Indeed I’m always bemused by the way mega malls that sit adja­cent to each oth­er in Jakar­ta, filled as they are with count­less (real) Guc­ci, Pra­da, Boss and all the rest, seem unwill­ing, or are not oblig­ed to put walk­ways between them. I guess that’s the dif­fer­ence between retail in Thai­land, Sin­ga­pore and Malaysia and retail in Indone­sia – there they all feed off each oth­er to cre­ate thriv­ing shop­ping precincts, here they are try­ing hard to work against each oth­er. Nuts real­ly.

But back to Bali. where the tourists swarm and I guess a hefty per­cent­age end up with an injury of some sort as a sou­venir of the shock­ing state of the island’s foot­paths.

I blogged a while back (and I can’t find it, most­ly because I’m too lazy).

So I start again – I blogged a while back about this beau­ty near our office:Footpath in Kuta

Kuta Footpath 2

… which takes a blind foot­path over a drop of per­haps 8 metres into what can best be described as a pub­lic sew­er.

Now, to com­ple­ment that, we’ve got a new precipice for the unwary.

The brand new foot­path in the sad­ly increas­ing­ly grot­ty and unwel­com­ing Jalan Laks­mana (also know as Eat Street because of the num­ber of upper to mid­dle range eater­ies) is an engi­neer­ing shock­er, with weird angles, gap­ing gaps between the mason­ry, an uneven sur­face which one assumes was put in place with­out any attempt to flat­ten the under­ly­ing earth, and the com­mon wis­dom in the area is that some­body pock­et­ed most of the bud­get for the project thus the dis­as­ter that we now have.

But that’s nei­ther here nor there because there are, most­ly, no gaps to walk because it’s blocked by bel­liger­ent taxis and the motor­bikes of the work­ers in the area. Thus forc­ing the pedes­tri­ans back onto the street to avoid the oth­er taxis that maraud along there hunt­ing for young Japan­ese cou­ples they can take 20km out of their way back to their hotel.

In one of the brief bits you can nav­i­gate on foot you find, bang smack in the mid­dle, this:

footpath on Jalan laksmana

which of course takes the unwary pedes­tri­an back into a sew­er – I see a pat­tern emerg­ing, and not just the bumps on the sight impaired friend­ly (or not so friend­ly) bumpy bits.

But relief is at hand – in Jakar­ta, the omni-pow­er­ful leg­is­la­ture have, last week, passed a sweep­ing new traf­fic law – so pedes­tri­an friend­ly, it now requires the dis­abled to wear a promi­nent badge, thus allow­ing them to be iden­ti­fied as less than nor­mal and instruct­ing dri­vers to let them cross. They won’t of course.

I won­der what colour tri­an­gle best suits?

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