I wrote a lot about opposites in Bangalore as if it were in some way unique but walking around Vancouver makes it obvious to me that the truth is it’s like that everywhere. While there is so much to love even in the middle of downtown here (the relatively quiet tree lined streets, the lack of traffic even at rush hour, the hyper-polite pedestrians, the quiet public spaces designed for you to just sit, the small family restaurants, etc) there are equally other things that stand out (the worsening air pollution problem, the comparably large number of passers by that are smoking (upwards of 20%) and the amount of obvious homeless even more so than London, etc).
The latter one got me thinking. I expected a lot of beggars in Bangalore but in reality there were very few indeed. I suspect that failing at begging is not an option there in the way that it is here (living on state support). Ironically this means that more wealthy cities will very probably lead to more beggars. While there are some ways to deal with this I still believe it is better to have these very non-aggressive beggars such as they are here than the alternative – starving if you can’t pull in enough money from pity.