Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pepys 1660 (3)

"And about 9 o’clock I went away homewards, and in Fleet Street, received a great jostle from a man that had a mind to take the wall, which I could not help?"

(Wednesday February 8, 1660)

In Britain we may drive on the left, but we stand on the right. On escalators it has become such a habit of mine that I was bemused by the trouble it caused me on my round-the-world trip this year.

Chaotic encounters on London's streets, such as the one Sam relates above (with that delightful self-examining addition of a question mark) were soon to be a thing of the past, as the convention was established that rather than asserting the wall if one could, one should always endeavour to pass on the right.

Here in Antigua Guatemala taking the wall often results in a face full of wrought iron balcony. The one piece of unstated local etiquette for pedestrian traffic that I am aware of, is that the male member of a couple should always walk on the street side of the banqueta, presumably so that he might assume the risk posed by Guatemala's drivers and wet season puddles...though it also probably spares him a few bumps on the forehead.

1 comment:

scott said...

Funny post. I've slammed into those balconies before...

We stand on the right too and you can always spot tourists (of the American variety) on the escalators of DC's Metro.