Thursday, 23 July 2009

No Flowers in your hair

My visit to San Francisco this July after a whole year, it not just a trip to the city, but to actually live in it for a few weeks.

I cannot help but draw comparisons between this place and the one I call home; I tell you, there is no comparison, but then there can’t be! How can I just sit here and compare that every person on a 2 wheeler wears a helmet, even the pillion rider, and they actually wear their helmets, not balanced them on their petrol tanks like where I live.


People only cross the road when the lights permit them to, not wander off helter skelter, and challenge the motorist to the right of way! I see another glaring difference, there are garbage drums along the pavements at intervals and people actually use them; they don’t throw stuff out of their moving cars, there is no litter on the roads, and, even when they take their dogs for walks they clean up after them!! I did too when I had to take our little Havanese dog ‘Hero” out to respond to the call of nature!  IMG_1622

The parks, and there are many!  just like where I live, are beautiful and green no litter no mess just people sitting or strolling, kids playing, dogs running about chasing each other or their masters or playing fetch! Actually ignoring others or expressing curiosity at their fellow species, but not fighting!!! Unbelievable!

Even the dogs are well behaved and mannered!


People are polite, they queue up to enter a bus, they queue up to buy their tickets they even queue up to queue up! Traffic lights are not jumped, and there is always a patrol car about when you least expect it, to nab you if you choose to break the law! Now that’s not saying the people here don’t break the law! Yes they do and by the dozens, for every type of crime there is a designated punishment, (you did the crime , you pay the fine or you do the time!)but overall they are law abiding, God fearing, and they have what we don’t back home, the caring for the community to which they belong! i.e. the Neighborhood!IMG_1625

The architecture is so varied, their buildings all have car parks for the residents and tenants and there are parking meters on the pavements for visitors; so there is never an issue about whose parking space it is or that you cant park here because some muscle-bound sumo wrestler chooses to stop you because he can!


The law is supreme.

Talking of which, all of what I have shared with you, is governed by the laws of the city, state and country, and no one and I mean no one is above the law, not even the police chief or the President of the country; people do not cheat, lie or steal, in general but there are exceptions and that is the rule! If you are caught out you have to take the consequences.


In a restaurant, or in a café, people bring their kids, who know that they should not disturb other around them, if the child does misbehave, the parents will leave the café, rather than permit the child to play up and throw a tantrum! I saw this unfold right before my eyes, in fact I saw all that I have mentioned take place; the mother took the child outside and sat down with him on a pavement seating and proceeded to explain but when the child would not stop his tantrum, he was promptly walked home, without any treat! That’s the way it is, here.

I have watched and waited, for an opportunity to record the breaking of the rules or laws, and I continue to wait and watch!


This city has one of the most impressive transport systems I have ever experienced! For $15 one can travel all over SFO on any mode of transit, like buses, cable cars  or BART for a full month! So during the day we mostly get around like that; the buses are are very well run, there are seats for the elderly (senior citizens) infirmed/disabled and even wheel chairs!



I watched as I was asked to vacate a seat which was turned up and floor space was cleared for the motorized chair to come up the ramp which was extended from the bus while the bus actually lowered its suspension on that side where the door is located; so the chair comes up from the pavement into the bus and is parked where the place is assigned for it!

All the while the driver kept an eye on the progress and when all was secure the doors closed and away we went ! The seating is so spacious and everyone is sitting without hassle.

The Bus stops have a read-out that tells you when which bus will arrive and bang on time it is there! Their systems actually work why don’t they work in my city?



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