Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A different world out there in Brussels






Picture postcard scenes from Brussels, these. Many use cycles to commute, and parking everywhere is near perfect. No haphazard parking anywhere. It’s almost as if it’s a sin, just like it’s almost a crime if you honk. The only time I heard a driver horn was when a police vehicle swept by. There are hardly any motorcycles; I must have seen three or four during the week I spent there – the odd Yamaha or Triumph.

One of the things that never cease to amaze me is the level of discipline people in the developed world have. Drivers stop when the traffic signal turns red even if it is 2am or 3am when there’s not a soul in sight. Pedestrians wait ever so patiently to cross streets until the signal turns green. Will we ever even strive to reach some semblance of such discipline? If only we could.

Super roads everywhere. I didn’t find a single spot where some sort of digging was about. The only thing that surprised me was the number of cigarette butts lying on pavements, even right outside petrol bunks. On the way to a sales outlet in a bunk there were scores of cigarette butts lying. And for all the campaigns against smoking and cigarette packets carrying warnings, people in these parts smoke like chimneys.

In streets, on footpaths, outside railway stations and bus stops, young and old, men and women puff away to glory come. I didn’t notice too much of chattering on mobile phones though, not like many of use here who are keen do to tell the world what we are up to or who love pressing the keys of the instrument for effect. They must have got over all that years ago, if ever they did indeed indulge in that kind of flaunting.

Pictures show cycles parked neatly on a pavement; the way to the gas station that was littered with cigarette butts: a quiet side street where too I noticed many butts lying; the super roads; and families cycling away.

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