Things you learn on the street

Thursday night, as we strolled Nidaugasse, our town’s pedestrian thoroughfare through its retail district, a young balloon-festooned gal approached us, speaking in French. We weren’t afraid. We’re from Canada. We’ve seen people dressed weirder.

We happily explained that we do not speak French, did not understand a word she said, so we could not give money to her cause/protest/campaign or accept any pamphlets which would be indecipherable to we unilingual clodheads.

It turned we were wrong on all counts. She is getting married today, and so her girlfriends, dressed in little black bunny ears, were taking her out on the streets where she sold little waxen candies in honour of her impending marriage. I’m not sure what this is really about in terms of whether it is a tradition or just something goofy her buddies thought up, but her happiness was infectious. She offered us a candy for any amount of money and we regrettably had to inform her we carried as much money as the Queen of England, which is to say not a penny.  I had not even brought my wallet.

She gave us a candy anyway, and we wished her a beautiful wedding day and happiness in her marriage.

On the same street earlier in the day, one of our town drunks wandered bellowing belligerently such that he actually cleared an entire block of pedestrians. I did not have my camera to show this, but it was fascinating to the see the one guy in the street, while the blocks on either side of him were filled with shoppers. A picture like that would terrify Victoria’s Ken Kelly, an affable chap who runs the Downtown Victoria Business Association in British Columbia, Canada. They are a group of retailers who can be found hand wringing over the commercial degradation of Victoria’s downtown due to its sad street population.

And speaking of town drunks, our leading town drunk was seen up in our neighbourhood this week, walking straight and tall, dressed jauntily like an old sea-captain and looking incredibly sober. We’ve seen him thus several times, and doubt this is a twin, because he has a distinctive mashed up nose that can only be the result of some serious injury or accident, not something likely to be repeated by nature.

And that’s the news from our town’s streets. A happy bride and a screeching alcoholic, each affecting the street atmosphere in their own way.

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