Tonight is my last night in this hotel room in the bustling sprawl of a town named for the nearby estate of First Leader, outside of Capitol City. Not that I’ll have time to tour the mansion or the gardens, or to go into the heart of the city and see any museums or monuments. We are here for a job, and having completed it today, will spend all day tomorrow driving home.
I like traveling, and traveling for work is no exception. It gives me an opportunity to see new places, to do different things, to meet interesting people. However, if there is a drawback to business travel, it is the tiny taste, the cruel tease. I have never spent time in this area before and it certainly seems worthy of dedicated exploration. We drive by the signs, but there is no time for touring. This afternoon we finished up a little earlier than expected, and returning to the hotel, my co-worker declared his intentions for a nap before dinner. It was 65 degrees and sunny, and even though we’d been outside all day, when I walked into my dark and stuffy room, it didn’t seem right. Every cell in my body screamed to go back outside. So I decided to go for a walk.
Four miles later, I’m back to the hotel room, and feeling a little better about being here. This town is just not made for walking. The hotel is on a busy four lane road, with a constant roar of traffic. I took the first possible side street, and finding no sidewalks, turned into a residential neighborhood at the soonest opportunity, looking for lighter traffic. Many streets ended at cul-de-sacs, with fences preventing foot traffic through to adjacent neighborhoods (and no dead end signs to warn the casual passerby). Sidewalks were almost entirely lacking. Except for a friendly woman walking her small dog, I saw no other pedestrians.
As much as I long to see the sights, I wouldn’t want to live in a place where roaring automobile traffic is the only means of conveyance, where pedestrians have been entirely squeezed out. Call me crazy, but I like to walk.