bus station tourniquet
Those are three Google searches I did a few minutes ago to no avail. Can you tell what I was looking for? Hint: I was (unintentionally) thinking in Spanish. I’d read that Bogotá’s TransMilenio BRT system is planning to implement anti-colado faregates, and I wanted to see what such an apparatus would look like. Just really tall? Google was no help, though, until the last query, when the first result was the Wikipedia page for turnstile. Oh, turnstile! Of course, of course. You know what, though–I’m pretty sure I’ve been saying tourniquet in English for the last good while or so. I’ve definitely talked about turnstiles in Spanish far more than I ever have in English, so I guess it figures. Probably because now I live in a major city where I regularly take public transport, and my exposure to turnstiles in the States was decidedly skimpy. How I previously lived without that daily or even bi-daily metallic brush against my waist, I don’t know.
So, yes. Turnstile is el torniquete in Spanish. Tourniquete is also the word used for a medical tourniquet. A tourniquet constricts an artery on an arm or leg to control bleeding, and the idea of a turnstile/torniquete is to constrict and control access into a location. Apparently they say molinete in Argentina (like a pinwheel) and torno in some areas of Spain. Another throwaway fact is that turnstiles are also called baffle gates. The DRAE also said that a torniquete can be some part of a bell, but I couldn’t make heads or tails of it.
At the end of the Wikipedia article on turnstiles, they dedicate an entire paragraph to “Turnstiles in Russia.” The novelty is that “In the early 2000s, Moscow authorities sought to further improve fare collection; since enclosing all bus and tram stops and providing them with fare gates was not feasible, they installed turnstiles inside each city bus and tram.” Yes, and? That seems normal to me (isn’t it? I’ve lost all touch with normality), but Wikipedia clearly did a double backflip about the far-out insideness of these turnstiles. Though it mentions that these groovy inside turnstiles are also seen in Chile, Brazil, and Hong Kong. They’re pan de cada día here in Colombia.
I’m going back to the U.S. tomorrow and will be there for eleven days, so if Vocabat can make herself stop eating all the delicious food that will abound–we’re doing an early Thanksgiving–and get around to blogging (oh, who am I kidding? I need to blog like I need to breathe), then she’ll be broadcasting from the U.S. of A, very happily a few pounds heftier. Tune in!