I got myself organised yesterday and took Petra for her first pram ride around our neighbourhood. Prams and San Jose streets don't really go together because the footpaths are very poorly maintained, if they exist at all. Our area actually has footpaths, which puts us ahead of most of the city, so I thought I'd be bold and try them out. It was a bumpier trip for Petra and harder work for me than I expected.
We had to make our way over piles of dirt and freshly-mown grass, past the leaf cutter ants picking their way around a broken beer bottle or two, to get around to the main road. Once there, the footpath degenerated into random patches of concrete, interspersed with grass, trees, and dirt. It's reverting to nature. I lifted, twisted, and brute-forced the pram from concrete chunk to concrete chunk until we made it to something more definitively path-like.
When we finally reached the street corner, we had to contend with the storm drains – they're deep and wide to deal with the torrents of water that fall during the rainy season and there are no ramps or bridges to help the pram-pusher from the footpath to the road. I had to walk half a block to find a driveway with a ramp. And I struggled with the steps, ridges and holes that are a constant in every paved surface in Costa Rica. A more exotic hazard was the pile of electrical wire we found hanging down from the power lines overhead. I had to drive Petra over it, crossing my fingers that it wasn't live.
Petra didn't seem to mind getting bumped and tilted around. She sat there solemnly, peering out at the street. Even the noise of a bus passing didn't faze her. I'd like her to observe her surroundings, so I'll take her out again, despite the awkwardnesses. I'll try going the other way next time though, away from the power lines and concrete chunks.
When I told Travis how adventurous our trip had been, he was surprised, "I just step over all that stuff without noticing it," he said. Me too, usually. Pushing the pram gave me a taste of what it must be like to use a wheelchair. A simple walk was suddenly full of obstructions that I had to bash and crash over. And I simply couldn't go some places because of the drains or a particularly big step.