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How many cities do you ‘know’ September 25, 2007

Posted by Sharath Rao in contemplation.
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There is something about getting to know cities and large towns. When I say ‘getting to know’, I am talking about knowing your way around. And ‘knowing your way around’ includes –

a) Neigborhoods – residential and commercial. Maybe you know not what street is where – especially if they are named rather than numbered. But you know what is available where, which are the places to hang out, where the bus stops, tourist attractions, libraries (in my case) and food places are.

b) Navigation – and this includes how to get from A to B, either by road or public transport or just walking (includes knowing what is walkable and short cuts if any). Also how long does it take to get from A to B. It also means you know what areas to avoid for reasons like messy traffic or just shady and unsafe. You should be able to advise on how to get to and out of the city by air/train/bus/driving and be able to advise depending on criteria like time/cost.

c) Misc. – If a friend wants to rent a house, you should be able to give some advice depending on her/his needs and budget. And no, you dont have to have done a course in real estate or something. Just spent enough time. Another friend has one day in the city and you should be to advise on what are the places to really not miss. You get my point – these are subtle things but if you are confident, you can act in advisory capacity ๐Ÿ™‚

So now, how many cities do you ‘know’ ? Consider only cities and towns that have at least say train connection and population over 50,000. You need not have lived there, visiting often enough qualifies.

For me that would be Mangalore, Bangalore, Boston and Pittsburgh. And in a while, that list might grown to include San Jose, San Francisco and rest of the bay area.

P.S : I could probably add Guwahati to the list, but maybe not. Although Guwahati was the first city that I got to know and thats back in 1991-93. Many things, I am told, have changed so I give it a pass.

Update: I could make it harder by saying you must know the relative positions on the map. Is place C east or south-east of B. For Bangalore, I once proposed (to a friend) ‘convenient’ polar co-ordinate system (radius, angle) with Majestic being (0,0) and say Koramangala being (1, 330). My friend took 2 seconds to dismiss it as unwieldy. Maybe I just chose the wrong friend to throw this idea at.

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Comments»

1. Ravi - September 26, 2007

well, for moving around you could walk with a tomtom as well ๐Ÿ˜› Why trouble yourself remembering directions!


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