I walk out of the well-lit, peaceful, cool air-conditioned comfort of the book shop. Immediately I was hit by a blast of hot air from the street. Wow, the difference is so great. Out on the five-foot way I break into a sweat.
I walk down the five-foot way.
Next to the book shop are two sundry shops. The smell emanating from these shops tingles my nose. The mixture of onion, garlic, dried fish, pepper and spices make a potent combination. I hold my breath for a moment as I walk quickly past the sundry shops. I always wonder how people working inside the shops can stand the smell. Perhaps they are used to it.
There are many people walking along with the five-foot ways on both sides of the street. It is about one o’clock in the afternoon and many office workers are out for their lunch break. So, I see these smartly dressed men and women hurrying towards the eating places further down the street.
The street has been made one-way some time ago to cater to the ever-increasing traffic volume. Lunch hour finds the street uncrossable. I want to cross to the other side. I look at the traffic. One look tells me that it is too dangerous to do so. The cars and motorcycles are moving at considerable speeds and they do not seem to be in the mood to make way for any pedestrian. I decide to cross the street via the lights-controlled crossing down the street.
On my way towards the crossing, I pass many other shops. They were mainly shops selling clothes, shoes, and watches. Near the crossing is a supermarket. Throngs of people can be seen at the entrance. A beggar sits on the step’s arms outstretched, eyes pleading for alms. I drop 20 sen into his unwashed palm. He stinks of cheap liquor.
I reach the crossing. The lights are red so I wait with a group of people. Cars speed by sending their obnoxious fumes into the waiting people. However, no one flinches. A bit of smoke is not going to prevent anyone from crossing the street.
Presently the cars screech to a halt behind the white lines across the road except for one that makes a dash past even though the lights have changed to red for him. Some pedestrians shake their fists, but no one is hit. The pedestrians are too seasoned to trust the traffic lights completely.
I cross briskly with my group to the other side. The group from the other side cross over to our previous side.
Once across I make a bee-line for the bus-stand. There are too many people trying to crowd under the shade of the stand. There is no place for me. I stand under the sun.
The smell of food wafts over to the bus-stand from the food stalls nearby. My stomach growls in response. My bus comes. I board it with several other people. There are no more seats available. So I stand on the aisle. Soon the bus picks up speed and leaves the busy street towards home where my lunch awaits.