Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Swanee, how I love thee

For you younguns, I don't have a huge admiration our Federal Treasurer. It is a corrupted line from an old song. I will get to the point eventually, but hopefully something of interest first.

For the Australian Open Tennis Match, we import ball boys and ball girls. It is not because we don't have enough local applicants but Tennis Australia like to spread the love around to our neighbours. Depending on which Asian country they come from, they have to be told that they cannot cross a road by just walking out into the traffic as they would at home. Our motorists will not dodge around them and are not used to fine manoeuvres to avoid crossing pedestrians. It is more like a driver will slam on their brakes and there will subsequently be large insurance payouts to many damaged cars.

We were youngish when we ventured for the first time to Thailand and we were quite intimidated by the thought of walking out into moving traffic to cross the road, and that was at a pedestrian crossing. With much subservient wai-ing by us, we got locals to get us across the roads. They enjoyed the interaction with the farang.

We were older and wiser when we were in Vietnam and did it. We walked out into traffic across many lanes and the traffic just dodged, nay, gently steered around us. No, not even that. More that they slowed or speeded up to avoid us. NB. Cyclos don't steer or stop easily, so you need to be extra careful with them.  You have to do it with confidence and keep a steady pace. You have to behave so that whoever is driving on the road can see your actions and predict what you are doing.

A minor newsworthy item today was when a tram driver held up traffic in St Kilda Road for swans to cross the road. Ah, what a wonderful and kind tram driver, thought some of his passengers. The others were fuming at the delay.

I know the street where we live rather well, but I have never seen swans cross it. I can only surmise that they were moving from the Botanic Gardens Lake to Albert Park Lake. Hmm, they have wings, why didn't they fly? Perhaps parents moving juveniles who have not learnt fine flying skills. Did you know swans mate for life but only pretend to be monogamous? The truth is in the genes.

I often drive home from work via Lakeside Drive as St Kilda Road and Queens Road have become increasingly congested. At times there is long bank up of traffic in Lakeside Drive though, because swans are crossing the road. They are big birds. People see them  and stop, which is just as well, because swans seem to think they have a right to cross the road against oncoming traffic. Swan behaviour is perfectly predictable when they cross roads. They don't hesitate, they don't check, they just keep walking. Drivers see them and stop to let them cross.

So while the tram driver meant well when he stopped the traffic, it was not necessary. Motorists would have stopped and let the swans across St Kilda Road regardless.


13 comments:

  1. Ha ha, do I get your meaning clearly? Let's not talk about the treasurer let's talk about something interesting.
    Swans are interesting.

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    1. FC, the more interesting feathered swan.

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  2. My grandmother used to cross the road like that - with elegance, no hesitation and in the knowledge that she owned her suburban roads :) Just like for the beautiful swans, the cars always stopped for Gran.

    What is unusual here is that I thought all swans were white, except for the black swans in Perth.

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    1. Maybe your Gran would not be able to cross like that nowadays Hels.

      You, like I, were victims of childhood reading of English books. Our black swans are natives but white swans are not, and there are very few white swans in Australia.

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  3. Motorists give way to swans for fear of that insurance ad repeating upon them!

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    1. Oh yes, I remember that now Jayne, haha.

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  4. Well, I think it was very kind of the tram driver to make sure the swans got safely across the road. People should be kinder to wildlife.

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    1. Wombat, tell you more about it when we see you.

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  5. I work on the same principle Andrew and I haven't been run over yet!!

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    1. Grace, I just should not write this, but I am sure there is a natural inclination for cars to stop and let an attractive woman cross.

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    2. Haha! as I said Andrew that's the theory I work on!!

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  6. Maybe they saw the GP fences being erected and though fuqthat!

    I saw someone run up another motorists bottom as they stopped for swans on Albert Park Drive. Whoops.

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    1. Yep Fen, the annual park lock out is starting, with the associated traffic problems. I feel bad for the driver who stopped for the swans.

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Whenever I wish I was young again, I am sobered by memories of algebra.