Jun 8, 2013

UB Walking Hazards

It is that time again - summer is here and the foreign visitors are arriving.  As temperatures rise just doing the most simple things can become more difficult and tempers also reach explosion point more quickly.

Walking around would seem the most natural thing to do when visiting a new city - but beware of the UB Walking Hazards.

Walking on pavements
Culturally the space you occupy when walking is not recognised by others.  Anyone of any age and gender is likely to walk through you at any time.  So if you do not have a tough frame, watch and give way as much as possible.

Pick Pockets
Pick on you when you are at your most vulnerable.  Your arrival or first day on the street and you think the best of everyone.  The pick pockets use the "we do not recognise your space" as part of their ploy to jostle you - usually one in front to slow you down and 3-4 behind to close in, relieve you of your valuables and then drift away again.  Back packs / day packs are an easy target as are mobile phones on belts and even items in front and rear pockets.

Crossing Roads
Only pedestrian crossings sequenced with traffic lights give any hope of crossing without incident - and this only about 80% of the time.  All other crossings offer open season on pedestrians.  You may have "the green man" to cross but traffic will also have green to turn across your path or with no traffic lights drivers do not recognise pedestrian crossings.  Might is right and bigger trumps smaller.  If you are a good judge of speed and believe a driver can stop, make clear eye contact with the driver - they will stop - but again only 80% of the time.  Go for safety in numbers when ever possible; the herd can intimidate drivers - but again only 80% of the time.

The Dislikers
There are a small minority of local folk who simply dislike foreigners.  They seem to have the need to lash out by kicking, hitting and verbally abusing the ones they dislike.  And guys, if you are with a Mongolia lady, you will be a target.

So don't get paranoid but DO keep your wits about you and you'll have a fantastic time here - and once out of the city the friendliness and generosity is amazing.

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