10/22/2006

A one-way friendship between two cities

I've never been entirely impressed with the concept of the sister city, or "twinning" as its known in England. Charlottesville seems to have a lot of these arrangements, and it's supposed to be important, but the vast majority of us are never going to go to any of them. It's a nice gesture, kind of cute, but really, what's the point?

But, in any case, the English town of Bideford in Devon was recently visited by an enthusiastic man from Manteo, North Carolina. He arrived in the town hall bearing a nice present for the people of Bideford, proclaiming the two town's long history of friendship. The man believed the two places to be twinned.

As the Guardian reports, the Bideford town clerk knew nothing about it.

It was left to Bideford's town clerk, George McLauchlan, to break the news - after accepting a clock and other goodies marked with the Manteo logo - that he had never heard of the place. In fact, Bideford is twinned with Landivisiau in Brittany. The visitor was sent on his way to explain to his civic colleagues that Manteo's warmth towards Bideford was not reciprocated.

Mr McLauchlan said: "He seemed like a nice guy and gave me a clock. It was a very nice clock. I said thank you, but had to let him down gently. It seemed even more cruel not to. He seemed a little puzzled and said our name was on all their road signs. He said he was going home to look into it."


I wonder if such a thing has ever happened in Charlottesville. Do our "sister cities" even know we're here?

Update: I didn't even know that this was in the news recently! cvillenews.com has a discussion about Charlottesville's new relationship with Besançon, France.

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