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This is Gent - cellophane
the story of an invisible girl
renniekins
renniekins
This is Gent
I am walking to my hotel after having had dinner. It is dark out. A girl on a bicycle clatters past me on the cobblestones with a red electric light clipped to the back of her jacket just under her neck. I round the corner, and a guy rides by. He is wearing a spelunking head lamp, and he is standing on the pedals for leverage. Sitting on his back rack is a nicely-dressed woman. She sits sideways on the rack, her ankles neatly crossed. She balances without bothering to hold on. This is Gent.

I am walking to the tram stop before work. I am passed by more bicycles than cars, although the ratio is near even. The riders are wearing business clothes, skirts, street clothes, whatever. They rattle over the stone streets, and nobody is "cycling" so much as just "pedaling". They ride like one might walk. Almost all of the bikes are upright "comfort bikes", and most of them look like they have been around for decades. A woman rides by with a child perched balancing on the bike's front rack, just over the front tire. The child is about seven, and is holding a pile of schoolbooks on her lap. This is Gent.

I am walking from the tram stop to my office. There is a complicated intersection I must navigate, which involves roads, trams, bicycles, a highway overpass, and a river. I am careful as I cross the red-bricked bike lanes to watch for bicycle traffic in the same way I watch for car traffic. There are three kinds of traffic lights at this intersection. The ones for cars have red and green circles. The ones for people have red and green images of a walking stick person. The ones for bicycles have red and green images of a bicycle. This is Gent.

Next time, I really need to request a bike.

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dagibbs From: dagibbs Date: June 6th, 2008 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
The Netherlands (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, etc) are quite like that, too.

renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 6th, 2008 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
So I've heard! My dad tells a story (which I was tempted to include in this post as my own) of seeing an old lady hobbling along the sidewalk in Holland. She walked slowly, with a cane. Then she went up to a bicycle rack, put her cane into a back-basket, climb on a bike, and go. Sure her bicycle had three wheels, but she was over 80 after all!
dagibbs From: dagibbs Date: June 6th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC) (Link)

OT - Michigan, lunch?

Are you able to escape from work to meet people (or, rather, me) for lunch? What does your schedule look like on Tuesday, June 17th? (Or, maybe, Monday, June 16th.)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 8th, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: OT - Michigan, lunch?

The 17th is currently free. I'm able to get out for lunch, but they need to be not much over an hour. So it depends on where we were to meet... I work in Royal Oak. Lunch would be fun though!
dagibbs From: dagibbs Date: June 8th, 2008 11:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: OT - Michigan, lunch?

I can come up to your end of town, meet at your place, or some place close by your place.
(Deleted comment)
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 8th, 2008 10:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
Me too!
From: tlatoani Date: June 6th, 2008 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Have you checked to see if you can rent one? I'd ask the hotel.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: June 6th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually I've learned that one can somehow requisition one from the company, just like you might request a projector or laptop or something. I'll try that for my August trip!
dagibbs From: dagibbs Date: June 6th, 2008 08:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
That is way cool!
devnul From: devnul Date: June 6th, 2008 12:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's really awesome, and you painted a wonderful mental picture of it, too.
thatguychuck From: thatguychuck Date: June 6th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a fantastic writeup. I love it.
nishar From: nishar Date: June 7th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
A gas powered bike. :P
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