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I never leave home without…

December 25, 2010

this genius of a pocket street map. It’s so detailed that it shows the range of street numbers per block (an essential, because the streets here go on forever), which buses pass through each grid, etc.

I don’t know how anyone can survive getting around this city without a Guiat. Even locals use this. Maybe if you’re here for only a few days and want to see only the main tourist attractions, you’d be able to get by minus the Guiat.  Normally, I’d survive with just the city maps available in hotels. I’d whip them out only a few times a day, discreetly and never in a public area, to avoid looking like an obvious tourist. But here, it’s almost always in my hand, consulting it while walking down the street, sitting at a cafe, or waiting for stoplight to change. Nevermind if it exponentially highlights my state of disorientation.

I am usually good with directions, which is why friends automatically designate me as the navigator during trips near and far. Mastering my bearings does not take much effort, and I was always proud of this talent. But here I am always lost. Everyday I get lost. Usually, it’s because I like to wander off to side roads, as I’m lured by the distant sight of a park or kitschy shop. Or air-conditioning.

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