Yes, overloading + to mean either string concatenation or numeric addition is a language design blunder IMHO. I'm often saddened by how many language designers were seduced by this unfortunate misfeature.
It explains why, for instance, you so often need ugly
explicit coercion via the int function in
Python and the to_i method in Ruby.
The elegant dividend that Perl derives from its lack of
operator ambiguity is clearly and tastefully described in Modern Perl in the "Numeric, String, and Boolean Context" section on page eight:
In exchange for not having to declare (or at least track)
explicitly what type of data a variable contains or
a function produces, Perl offers specific type contexts
that tell the compiler how to treat a given value during
an operation ...
The eq operator treats its operands as strings by
enforcing string context on them.
The == operator imposes numeric context ...
Perl will do its best to coerce values to the proper type
depending on the operators you use. Be sure to use the
proper operator for the type of context you want.