written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

One Big Complaint

The only whole-hearted complaint about China so far, mom's gonna hate this, but this truly makes me angry and sends me howling whenever it happens, is that I keep on finding myself in throat-lumping near collisions!! It happened twice day. The first time the bus, cramped as always, came to a screaching halt when a big truck decided just to pull out in front of us a mere 5 seconds before we came upon it. People lurched forward and several yelled out in a brief panic for their lives. I am sure arms, those attached to fists clenched to hand rails, like mine, were nearly if not fully wrenched from their sockets. Arg! Its just carelessness and the false expectation that if you pull out in front of something, that something will slow down and let you go ahead, despite it being a huge crowded bus! Its some preference for chaos and allowing others to bed to your whim, the order of the impatient cut-in-line winner mentality.They also honk at anything moving. If a pedestrian is in the cross walk, walking, and a car decided to barrel through, for sure the driver will lean on his horn till you kindly start scuttle-jogging and get the hell out of his way. This might even happen in a little quiet alley-way, whereever there is human to machine contact there is frantic honking and bell-ringing. Maybe, it's because they don't have breaks.

(This is probably one of the nicer san lun che, motorcycle taxis. They come in inventively patched together, rusty varieties, such as the one I was in while taking this photo.)

The second time I screamed for my life today: I had taken a motorcycle taxi (a motorcycle with a enclosed box to sit attached on the back) about 2 blocks home. Upon locking myself in the little tin box, he pulled out of the subway entry way on onto the street, going the wrong direction in the bus lane with oncoming buses and cyclists (me yelling "Don't Do That!"). Then he turned and sped down this busy hill, with lots of cars pulling out and people jay-walking, and bikes everywhere and many 2 point obstacles to challenge and tantalize him. At the bottom of the hill was a large intersection, as it happens it was a red light, so obviously he sped right through it (me screaming "NO!!!!!!" in the back) Thankfully going up the gradual hill his crap engine allowed a reprive from bouncing all around in the tin box. But he failed to relent all the needless weaving in and out between bicyclists and pedastrians. Even worse, everytime I would scream in horror, the driver would turn around, while driving straight ahead, and look at me as if concerned that I was choking on something rather than just stopping the behavior that sent me howling in the first place. Then I would yell (Look! Look!) and he would turn back around. The box was jittering and felt like at any moment, the slightest turn or bump would send us rolling on the pavement. The entire taxi ride took less than one minute but it was replete with horror. Just slow down, for Heaven's sake! Inevitably, and I am not typically like this, but I fumble my way out out of the taxi box in huffy White Laowai Lady scene and throw 5 kuai at him, and gesture lecture him about his driving. I am sure he couldn't be more confused by my dissatisfaction, afterall he did get me home without having to stop or slow down once.

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson