|Where's the metro?|
We began our tour in mostly large cities, staying downtown - areas conducive to walking. Now that we have been spending weeks in smaller cities in the South, apparently no one walks in these places. The city of Florence, along with too many cities in the US, was designed assuming that everyone has a car. Why didn't anyone have carless groups of traveling show vagabonds in my mind when city planning?
|I just want dinner.|
Asking for walking directions at the front desk is generally met with looks of confusion, as if my English came across as a broken third language. (It's pronounced "wal-king!") After the look of shock fades, the desk clerk points in the general direction, but then reminds us that we "can't walk there." We remind her that we will be walking there, and the look of concern returns to her face, as if an omen came her way about people trying to walk.
We made the "unwalkable" walk to Wal-Mart, in spite of walking through dirt, grass and water (not one sidewalk!), and dodging cars on the highway and vast parking lots. Now I wonder: at what point in American history did walking become not an option? Before Ford's Model-T, people had to use their legs or maybe horse (and oxen on the Oregon Trail). Now, trying to walk in much of the US, cars treat pedestrians like wild animals they've never seen before. Not only do they not know how to deal with us as we cross the street, they gawk as they pass. Either throw some feed out the window or keep driving!