Have you ever ridden down the streets of a foreign city and marveled at it all?

I love to wonder at how different a place is from my home: foreign signs, differently shaped vehicles, traffic rules, clothing.  I watch people going about their lives, and wonder, “Where is she off to? Is she having a good day? What would it be like if I lived here?”

Some of the most memorable places I’ve done this were in the places that seemed most foreign to me, such as Cairo, Hanoi and Jerusalem.

Last night, CBS’s “60 Minutes” aired a 12 minute segment that lets us be virtual tourists going back in time.  A video taken on San Francisco’s Market Street in 1906, just days before a devastating earthquake leveled the city, was miraculously preserved.

If you can spare a moment, check it out. It’s mesmerizing. The people are going about their daily lives, as we all do, blissfully unaware of the havoc that awaits them.

What struck me the most was the people’s non-nonchalant approach to traffic. Pedestrians, horse-drawn carriages, trolleys and motorized vehicles all share the road. The people jay-walked in San Francisco’s 1906 the same way they do today, amid the motor-scooters, in Hanoi!

Link: San Francisco, 1906

San Francisco 1906, video screen shot