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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