Saturday, March 7, 2009

Spatial Orientation

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Mr. G. and I set out on a mission to see if and how we could cross Route 13, a major obstacle between us and Aldi. Yes, Ithaca has an Aldi, an unexpected and uncanny German element floating about in mostly American surroundings, like the seemingly impassable stretch of highway, which exists in defiance of pedestrians, peripatetics, and--generally--people who have crazy ideas such as walking to the grocery store.

We were fortunate enough to find a well-hidden crosswalk with traffic lights and, after wandering about in a warehouse area, get to Aldi. And it really did look like any Aldi, Lidl, or Pennymarkt we remembered from Germany. For the first time since I moved here I saw a tea section that didn't have any decaf tea and was able to get European chocolate for a normal, fairly reasonable price (nasty Hershey's can go drown).

On our way back home we stopped at a wine store and got drawn into a wine tasting. The wines were generally bad (my instinct is that good red wines come from warm areas, so I'd be surprised if Finger Lakes reds suddenly evolved into somehing grand). We picked up a bottle of Spanish merlot and walked (yes!) back home.

The next major advance we're anticipating is New York state finally allowing for the sale of wines in regular grocery stores. As much as we enjoy these epic walks to Route 13...


Kim said...

You 2 are very brave to go for a walk to buy something in the USA! I wouldn't even do that in my neighborhood. There's a small shopping centre maybe 5 minutes from my house but I would probably get run over by a monster sized SUV or pickup truck on my way. No crosswalks.

It's a fear I have going back to the states, that I will get fat because I can't walk anywhere. I know that sounds weird and silly but it is a real fear since I have to drive everywhere and yeah...

I can't eat Hershey's without nuts in it anymore. European chocolates have ruined me! I like lindt....mmmmm....sadly they don't have any good chocolates here :(

(haha...the word verification is "fulatial")

Misiula said...

"Fulatial" could make a great adjective. I have to think about some possible uses for it.

I don't think your fears about getting fat are weird at all. I worry about exactly the same thing all the time! Nobody walks here.
People either jog or drive to the gym, as if physical movement was necessarily something carved out of your daily routine, as if it needed a special separate time. I'm not blaming specific individuals, it's just that general mindset that bothers me.

It makes walking from point A to B oddly difficult for those weird and rare individuals like us who go crazy if they don't go for a walk every day.

Definitely the major simple thing America should fix: make walking possible for people. Footpaths! Sidewalks! Shopping malls accessible to pedestrians!

Kim said...

Yeah, to get exercise people go to the park and walk around the track there, it's impossible to walk around neighborhoods since most have no sidewalks.

I like walking somewhere past little shops and houses, not dodging cars (even at crosswalks) and not wandering past hundreds of giant apartment buildings before finally getting to the shopping area covered in neon much light and air pollution here!

So I go from wandering streets in various European cities to country of eternal haze and pollution with shops similar to USA...and soon to return to the country of few sidewalks and shopping centres that have shuttles to get you from one end to the other cause some people just can't walk the distance! Yes an outdoor shopping centre in my hometown has a shuttle service since it's too much for people to walk from one end to the other.

Misiula said...

But no one says it's the end of the journey for you. The only moral I see is that the world's cities are in desperate need of sidewalks.