Saturday, October 15, 2011

#7 Walk at Night By Yourself

As detailed in this post (#6 Move to a Country that doesn't Speak English). I went for a walk after 2-3 days of being a mute idiot as far as my level of Spanish was concerned. When everyone else speaks Spanish and some English, though very hard to understand with their accent, it is not fun to not understand. I finally decided to go outside and explore even though I was a little bit scared since I had not been outside the house/yard yet. Anyways I was going to walk around this big park, Parque Prado. Think city park, but not Forest Park in St. Louis, Central Park in New York, or Grant Park in Chicago size, but more like those in a small city.

Anyways, I immediately took a wrong turn but I found my way to the Park after going around it once I wanted to explore more. At this point I started daydreaming in a way. It's something I do while running, but basically my mind was on auto-pilot and I was thinking in Spanish. I was trying to sort out everything that had happened in the last 2 days. I had been completely bombarded by new things that I had no idea what to do first. Anyways I only knew one major street was close to the house Avenida Millan. I started walking around trying to find the house, I knew it was by a Liceo(High School), but I couldn't find it. It got dark which made things infinitely harder. I walked around for two hours in the dark trying this, trying that, I've seen this street before. I knew I was close, but I couldn't find it.

However, during that whole time I never felt unsafe. Now opinion time. I don't understand why people are so afraid of going out in the dark. Yes in the inner city in seedy areas you shouldn't, but out in nice suburbs like Bridgeton, Ames, Cáceres, Johnson County as long as there are lights no problem. I've been out multiple times at night by myself in all of these and I felt just as safe when I was lost at night in Montevideo. I understand my gender plays a role, but still. I walked near the main train station in Rome(apparently a dangerous part) at night, no problem. Yes it could have been different. However, if you exercise street smarts like looking like you know where you're going and don't appear lost as well as blending in a bit it seems unlikely the stuff we hear on the news will happen. I may be naive, but I don't want to be scared of the world. In my experience it is always safer than anything I've read or heard in the news.

Ok back to what happened. Well I have this intuition that is really useful in that I generally know where I am in relation to where I need to go. I knew I was close to the house, but after a couple of hours I was tired. I called the house and one of the oldest picked me up. I found out I was only five blocks away and had walked right past it about 2 hours earlier. I had forgotten what the gate to the house had looked like not where it was. What I believe was due to me thinking in Spanish and letting my mind wander somehow in an instant I could speak and understand Spanish like I had just been in Cáceres, Spain yesterday.

What do you think about going out at night in cities? What is your city/town like after dark? Women how is it different for you than for men? Pleae Comment Below.

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