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Elton John Praised for Best Street Choice in 70's British Rock Category
Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
Did you know that there isn't a single abbey on London's famous Abbey Road? Just a synagogue, an injury rehab center and Billy's Hair Studio. How stupid is that? A real waste of time if you're one of those types who's always on the lookout for abbeys.
And if you fancy catching some shows while visiting New York, don't bother looking for an obvious street name such as Show Street, or Avenue of the Theaters, or even Jazz Hands Boulevard. Doesn't exist. But I guess I can see why New York ended up going with the name "Broadway." You definitely won't have any trouble finding broads on that street.
The city that has it pretty much figured out, though, is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The people involved in naming its streets are a bunch of smart cookies. Every designation is a description of something important on that street. Some names are in English, which makes it even handier. And, except for highways and a few dead ends, every street name is preceeded with "Jalan" (meaning street in Bahasa).
For example, Parliment resides on Jalan Parlimen. Jalan Sentrul Stesen is where you'll find the central train station. If you're looking to adopt stray cats, you'll find many running amok along Jalan Kuching (Bahasa for cat). Scott Nelson sits on his porch all day on Jalan Scott. There is a hose at the end of Jalan Hose. Jalan Universiti? You guessed it. The Sprint Highway? There is no speed limit. Looking for a good time? Try Jalan Bangladeshi Prostituti.
There are a few misnomers, though. And we've verified, make no mistake about it. You will not find a beach on Jalan Pantai, no drug users (or even sellers, for crying out loud) on Jalan Stoner, not a single transvestite on Jalan Titiwangsa, and no horse racing on Jalan Lumba Kuda. Although on the latter, you might find a bunch of hooligans racing their scooters.
While KL is considered by many as a leader in street designation technology, the ultimate in urban planning ingenuity is found in the Land of Oz. Yellow Brick Road, for example, which is a long, but direct and scenic route between the town of Munchkinland and the Emerald City metropolitan area, has a remarkable 0.4% getting-lost rate, according to the Oz Transit Authority. Unfortunately, travelers only have a 58% chance of surviving the entire distance due to the odd variety of maneating beasts that roam the countryside.
This of course doesn't dimish the brilliance of the Yellow Brick Road concept. It takes you from point A to point B. There are no on- and off-ramps to miss, no detours to mess with your sense of direction, and no luring tourist traps to break your concentration.
If you're considering the Yellow Brick Road adventure, it is our advice that you start on the Emerald City side. Anyone there will simply point you to the launch site (you can't miss it; it's a painted brick road of bright golden yellow), and then they will move along their merry way. If you have no choice but to start on the Munchkinland side, then avoid at all costs in asking for directions. You may fantasize that it's cute and charming to have the answer sung to you by an entire town of adult-proportionate dwarfs dressed in multi-colored costumes, but that won't last long. After the 2nd or 3rd hour of receiving the same exact bit of advice with undiminishing levels of enthusiasm - delivered each time as if it were a novel idea - you can't wait to be eaten by a lion, tiger, or bear.
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