04 November 2009
Closed But Open. But Closed. But Open.
There’s a trend emerging on this trip. Things appear closed but are actually open. That is, except in Russia, where things are just closed for real. There are many ways in which places can appear to be open but are in fact shut. Let’s go through them now:
The “sneaky reflecting door” trick: Two or three doors are set just next to each other one behind the other, making the interior of said site appear pitch black while offering a rather intense reflection of oneself in the glass of the first (or is it the second or third) door. Usual suspects include museums, restaurants, bars and the like.
The “multiple doors but none of them open” trick: This occurs when a venue has two, three or sometimes seven doors but only one of them actually opens. The others do not have signs directing you to the open one nor does it say on them, “this door does not open.” Usual suspects are most commonly cafes.
The “staff answer the office phone number but the door is locked and there’s no one inside” trick: You’re usually standing right outside the door of the office you’re attempting to get into. After incessant knocking and doorbell ringing you dial the number listed as an “office phone” at $2 a minute from your US cell phone. Someone picks up and you ask if they’re open. “Of course, it’s Tuesday, they say.” You explain you’re standing outside the door and that no one is answering. “Well sir, we’re not AT the office, but we are open. You’re silly.” Usual suspects consist of the car rental office in Tallinn, Estonia.
The “it’s a national park but there are no roads that lead into it or signs that direct you to it” trick: It’s on the map. You’re on the only road that appears to lead to it. You just want to see a lake and some swamp land. The muddy dirt road ends just over a crest in 3-foot deep sludgy, gooey, sticky mud. The car sinks right in and the wheels begin to spin frantically. You’re either in the swamp already or on your way there by no choice of your own. Indeed, the national park is “open” but there is no way to get into it.
Things we could do with more of: road signs, access roads and staff physically in an office.
Things we could do with less of: mud and doors with mirrored reflective glass stacked three deep.