Friday, December 5, 2008

8. Where do the pedestrians go?

Cath didn't let herself sleep for too long. Time to get out and about. She needed to buy some clothes since she only had what she was wearing. On the wee welcome map, there was a mall across the highway. She fancied a bit of a walk.
The guy at the door tried to convince her to take the free hotel shuttle to the mall. She waved him away but he pressed a card into her hand for her to call if she needed picking up. Walking out into the sunshine, she was bemused at his pushiness. Then she found out why - there were no footpaths.
She walked on the grass verges between a restaurant and a garage. At the end of the street she climbed over the fence and found herself on the edge of a multilane street. There were still no footpaths. Did anyone walk here?
She nervously crossed with the lights and wandered under the highway overpass, cars and trucks rumbling overhead and thundering past. She walked amongst the rubbish and the scrubby grass. Had anyone else ever walked here before she wondered?
Emerging into the bright sun, she was confronted with a confusing crossing of traffic trying to get onto the highway. She watched the lights and then ran when she thought it was right time. She held her breath, didn't dare look sideways and aimed for the other side of the road. There were some horns but she made it.
She stood, catching her breath and getting her bearings. There was the mall. A big square, unadorned building. Malls were definitely not built to be admired from the outside. It was across the car yard and then a massive expanse of carparking. She set off. It would seem no one walked to the mall. This place was set up for cars, not pedestrians. Everything was so spread out. She gazed at the Baskin Robbins across the road. She decided it was too hard to get to - another time maybe, she wanted to try it before she left the country.
At least now she had made it to the carpark of the mall. The carparks were huge. How big were their cars here? You could park a campervan in one of them. Then she noticed that was exactly what they were for.
The carparks shrank to normal size as she approached the grey monolith, if you didn't know, there was nothing to attract you to the building. She thought of the pretty little shops back home with window displays enticing the passerby.
A loud, roaring engine caused her to jump. It was right beside her, she quickly ran between the cars. She wasn't used to the traffic being on the wrong side of the road. She checked before she emerged from the parked cars' protection, thinking she had it right this time.
There was the roar again.
She turned. The same car was there again. Had it swerved towards her?
She ran for what she thought was the mall entrance. She could here the car behind her. Where they trying to run her down?

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5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.