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Deciphering Street Codes



Despite the near absolute lack of sidewalks, I’ve been walking. Getting out and exploring the neighborhood.  Off the main roads, it’s not too bad walking along the side of the road if you’re alert to…. everything, and can step around the holes and detritus and obstacles and evade the scooters zipping towards you.


Every once in a while, punctuating the din of the city,  I’ve heard the non-rhythmic tap of a stick on bamboo.  Other times, I can hear an intermittent bicycle bell.  I hadn’t been able to figure out what it was.


Walking after dark the other night, I spotted a man padding down the street ahead with two large boxes hanging from ropes, balanced on a pole over his shoulder.  On one box hung a lantern.  Tap…….. Tap… Tap.  He was the source of the stick on bamboo.

I asked my companion what that meant.  “Oh, that means they have food for sale.  You have to know the codes.  The knife sharpener will ring a bell once.  The metal recycler may ring his bell two times.  There are all sorts of codes.”  You just need to know what they mean.

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