Monday, December 12, 2005
Honk if you love me
Michael is slowly acclimating to Beijing traffic. On the way to class this morning, his co-pilot (Mark, a fellow Chinese student and FSO) calmly noted that they were about to pass their highway exit. Undeterred, Michael glanced over his shoulder to check the tide of buses, and trucks, and taxis (oh, my!), then promptly drove across four lanes of traffic at an angle unseen on those pansy highways back in America. Nary a horn beeped, as this is the way most Beijingers exit the highway. In fact, the only mistake Michael made here is that *he* didn't honk his horn. It's considered polite to use the horn to let everyone else know you're pulling a Crazy Ivan on the freeway en route to a side street. Let it not be said that Beijing traffic is utterly without manners.
The sign at the right is illustrative of the chutzpah of Chinese taxi drivers. The sign is located at the entrance to a city park that does not have roads cutting through it - only footpaths. That's right, taxis are forbidden from driving along the footpaths, which the park management suspects they might do to get around the logjams out on the paved mazeways of the city during rush hour.