Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Going Native

Its hard to adequately describe driving in Beijing. The sheer volume of cars on the roads is astonishing, and then you have to add in all the bikes, pedestrians, and special home-made 3-wheeled vehicles. Upon arriving in the city, the road activity made walking across the street scary, let alone driving on the street (or sidewalks as the case may be.)
This picture is meant to demonstrate how the number of lanes is really a soft number entirely dependent on the mindset of the individual drivers and not on some silly lines painted on the road.

But Michael has become (and this is a little terrifying to admit) a natural driver here. His driving technique is entirely ... appropriate for the streets of Beijing. At this point, his driving technique is more authentic than his Chinese speech. We knew that he had really come into his own today when, not only did he successfully execute a left hand turn across 3 lanes of traffic from the right hand lane, he cut off a cement truck that was going straight in the process.

Just to put our North American readers at ease, please understand that while this maneuver is not exactly encouraged, it is far from being unexpected or uncommon and that the cement truck driver did not need to use his horn or brakes in this situation.

Now that's some impressive driving!

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