Walking in UB

by sumpteretc

I have been assured that no bit of trivium is too insignificant to merit mention in this blog, which bolsters one’s confidence but gives one little direction for composition. So…

Let’s talk a little bit about walking around in the city. We have chosen, for the moment at least, not to purchase a vehicle. One doesn’t necessarily need an automobile for urban travel, and we have few plans for rural travel in the near future. Consequently, we take taxis occasionally but often walk to wherever we need to go. I have been fortunate to find friends with a class schedule similar to mine, so I can generally ride in their car to and from school. Occasionally, though, I make the journey on foot. (Tiffany always walks to school; what a trooper!) The trip to school takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on one’s pace.

I want to share a bit about the terrain encountered by the Ulaanbaatar pedestrian. In previous blogs, I have made mention of the often uncovered manholes (excuse me, personnel access, uh, holes), which pose a constant danger. A far more common danger though is the kilometers-long tripping hazard known as the sidewalk. We have had very little snow since our arrival. However, there is ample evidence that snow did fall sometime earlier this winter. The evidence is the sheet of ice that still blankets everything in the city. Most sidewalks bear this evidence; a few have been cleared by hand with some sort of garden tool. The typical city sidewalk looks something like this: Ulaanbaatar sidewalk You’ll notice the two white areas on the sides of the sidewalk. Those are the safe zones. If you put your feet down hard enough, you’ll only slip once every ten or fifteen steps. That gray stripe in the middle is for the daredevils–generally, the children–although plenty of adults use it too. If you travel the slick stripe, you never have to lift your feet; you can just skate. I rarely am that adventurous, but I have been goaded into it by elementary school girls before.

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