Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Asian Driver Friendly State

   When I was in the midwest every American I met said they’ve never been to California.  I wondered why, it's short plane ride away.  People all over the world want to see the Golden Gate Bridge.  I thought it was painted in gold and was disappointed to see the bridge was red.  I wondered why it was not named Red Gate Bridge. 

   Many Americans from other states are intimidated by California.  It is the third largest state after Alaska and Texas and yet it looks quite small in the map due to its long and narrow shape.  The climate runs from subarctic in the north to Mediterranean in the south.  It lies between the Pacific Ocean and the Nevada Desert, a happy medium between wet and dry. 

   The celebrities of Los Angeles and the Bohemians of San Francisco made California seem remote for the more conservative people of other states.  However, I noted an interesting feature of San Francisco I would love to tell my midwest friends.

   I used to miss the red metal STOP signs on the street corners in the midwest making my passengers scream “Stop!” with their hands flying towards the windshield.  In San Francisco, the word STOP is painted on the asphalt in white.  I have to be blind to miss it now.

   I wondered why the number 50 was painted on a road.  Finally I saw the sign standing at the roadside bearing the same number.  It took me two weeks of driving past it to realize it was the speed limit.

   A few meters before a stop light the road is painted with SLOW DOWN and the name of the street you are approaching will be on a metal green sign posted at an island so that a driver will be alerted if he intends to turn at the next corner.

The word XING is painted on the asphalt at pedestrian crossings.  XING is a Chinese word that means “to walk”.

   My midwest American friends have warned me about driving in San Francisco after seing me miss stop signs and speed limits in Kentucky.  How could they guess that San Francisco is Asian driver friendly?

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