Friday, May 04, 2007

The speed of walking

...as a barometer of the pace of change in a country it is a smart metric. Bahrain is ahead of only Malawi in the fight for the last spot, with an average speed of 17.69 seconds per 60 feet. The fastest is Singapore with a whopping average speed of 10.55. Local press decided that our rather 'unrushed' walking speed is actually a virtue of our lifestyle, compared to the fast-paced living of urban-dwellers in other countries facing 'all kinds of diseases'. Do the people who constructed this index not understand the cultural differences between these countries. Living in Bahrain, one fails to see the point of walking at all. The lack of pavements testifies either to lack of demand for walking or the cause of a walking-deficient nation. It seems our legs have been created to perform essential manoevering duties rather than general transportation. Bahrain must have had the coolest weather in it's history this year, how many ppl put their walking boots on? (probably only those who participated in the survey above).

One exception where walking becomes of use, is in the sport of shopping. Shopping malls are indeed one of the few places where you find Bahrainis putting legs to use. Either in the aisles of Geant or the forecourts of Seef, people find great pleasure in having an excuse to walk. Even here however, speed is in 1st gear, rarely moving up to two in a display of wobble-walking that would make mother goose proud!

To be fair, the cultural-aversion to walking is probably due to the other obvious reason; the hot climate, the reliance on cars (a person to car ratio would be a useful statistic alongside the speed of walking), the lack of public spaces (pavements, parks, beaches like Abu subh which is getting destroyed v soon, safe pedestrian cross-overs etc,) and obesity levels (average weight:speed of walking would be useful too). It's great seeing people making the effort to go for walks in the evening after the sun sets but more often than not they are either want to lose weight or have heart problems and face the high-risk of getting run over (how many ppl have been killed in Saar?). It would do our country good to try and incorporate walking into daily life, taking the stairs rather than the lift, having more shaded streets and walkways (like in Spain), maybe even encouraging cycling which is the next best thing (how many Asian labourers get killed cycling every year though?)!

Posted by BB @ 5/04/2007 08:07:00 PM

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Posted by Blogger Té la mà Maria @ 5/10/2007 04:55:00 PM #
 

lol speed of walking. having lived here in bahrain for 9 years now, i really dont see much difference in the path ways etc around certain parts of the island. if u go up to muharaq for example, there is the long paths from the airport and the public parks, go north to budaya and there is nothing, no partk, no paths, jst swampy sandy roads in the winter and widdened roads in the summer for the mad drive who cant stay in lane properly.
i walk every night just before mughrib, the looks that i get are unbelieveable, i dont know if its cos im a woman out for a brisk walk or because the walking + the full egyptian hijab and niqab is the confussing part. 6km/hour is my speed while walking i guess that my walking speed indicates my wanting to hurry up but the pace of bahrain is soo slow it takes 5 yrs to process one paper even when it isnt ramadhan. lol ... yes im muslim so dnt think im atacking muslims. have a good walk and enjoy the breeze. regards bint englise

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 6/17/2007 11:08:00 AM #
 
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