The Daily Monorail

May 17, 2007

Unbelievably, my first year as a PhD student is about to come to an end. Of course, that means I still have one last paper to finish up, so tonight’s post will be a short one. But before we begin with the latest in monorail ephemera, it may be useful to put the idea of transit in historical perspective. In A Mediterranean Society, S.D. Goitein described the process of travel in the middle ages, viz:

“The means of locomotion were slow and caused extreme discomfort. Nature’s caprice and perfidy vied with the lawlessness and rapacity of man to render any journey a hazardous undertaking.”

In what is clearly one of the ten best sentences ever written, Goitein well enumerated two of the problems facing the medieval traveler. While modern urban rail passengers seldom have to deal with pirates (perfidy and rapacity are other stories), there are other obstacles standing in the way of efficient transport. Today’s example: prostitutes.

It seems that the Kuala Lampur Monorail was recently struck by a service outage on account of some rambunctious prostitutes. About 20 prostitutes disrupted the Monorail service for an hour when they leapt onto the tracks to avoid a police sting that managed to catch 45 people ( including 17 customers and 7 transvestites). This certainly makes sense. I know that when I’m fleeing from the law my first thought is always to jump onto train tracks–but that’s just me. Of course, had this been Sofia, the prostitutes would probably have been part of the train’s amenities. No matter what, the next time my Subway ride is stopped for “switching problems”, I’m just going to assume that the problem is really a case of outlaw hookers.

Oh, and here’s a picture of the beautiful KL monorail zipping by with the Petronas Towers in the background.

470034277_0f0ae504f9.jpg

And a youtube video of a toy maglev train (or maybe its a science project demonstration display; the video’s in German) where you actually get to see the train float on air.

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One Response to “The Daily Monorail”

  1. Rich Says:

    Thanx for Tube anfd wonderfull expo timing shot in night.R


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