A lot of times, I just don’t understand the people here. They walk around with masks on their faces in fear of swine flu, but will jump on a motorcycle without a helmet. I’ve been taking mental notes of contradictory actions such as this. So, here are a few things that will get you killed in Guangzhou (and China in general) if you’re not careful.
Crossing the street. I have no idea who came up with this traffic system. But seriously, WTF? Even when the walk signal to cross the street says go, you still have to look out for those turning right and left. Pedestrians have no right of way and the drivers really don’t care if you are walking and that your signal to do so is green.
Walking down the street. There are several dangers involved in this act. First, Watch out for man hole covers. There not always secure. At someone warned me that if you fall in one “There is no compensation.” Next, be on the look out for spit on the sidewalk. Chinese men love to get a nice, fat lougy and release it on the ground. Simply hearing the act is enough to send me into a screaming rage. Not to mention that one day, I almost broke my neck slipping on the pavement/saliva combo. And lastly, be on the look out for cars driving on the sidewalk. If you can’t find a parking spot on the street, just go ahead and park on the sidewalk.
Riding a motorbike. Fortunately, they are not allowed in Guangzhou, but in Foshan, the motorbike drivers were CRAZY. Weaving in and out of traffic, driving on the shoulder, between cars, with no helmet and sometimes 4 people on one bike (including children and infants). It’s the Chinese minivan. Also, it’s very cheap to take a motorbike taxi. All you need is a dollar and a death wish. When we lived in Foshan we saw the remnants of a taxi vs. motorbike match. Guess who won? I’ll give you a hint….there was a big round hole in the windshield of the taxi. I’m guessing it was from the motorbike drivers head.
Taking a taxi in Shenzhen. This past weekend, Fabien and I went to the city that boarders Hong Kong. With only an hour to make our departing train, the taxi driver was on a mission. Driving on shoulders, sidewalks, through construction projects, you name it. At one point, I just laid down in the back seat. And did I mention there are no seat belts? I figured this might be the only way I could possible prevent myself from being ejected from the car if we got into an accident.
Crossing the highway. I’m serious, people do this. It’s like that old Atari game that I can’t remember the name of.
Buying something from a street food vendor. Every morning there is a guy marking breakfast burritos at the top of the Metro stop. Fabien really wants to try one but everyone is warning him not too. I told him if he does, I’m not sharing my Pepto Bismol supply with him.
Heat stroke. It’s still winter but sometimes it get’s near 90F. On these days I sport my tank top, skirt and flip flops, but the Chinese have jeans, long sleeve shirts, boots, etc. I have no idea how they do it.
Being trampled getting on and off the Metro. At first, the pushing to get on and off really annoyed me, but now I just push back (sometimes forcefully). Everyone else does it and I get some aggression out.
Breathing. Hello pollution and second hand smoke. Everyone smokes everywhere. You can even smoke in the police station. There’s no such thing as a no smoking section. I think I’ve even been in an elevator when someone was smoking. Fortunately, it’s not allowed on the Metro.
There are over a billion people here, so all of these scenrios are just ways to control the population, but consider this your warning if (or when) you ever travel to China.
Also, there are some photos in the Photo Gallery of this past weekend when we were Stranded in Guangdong (a whole other blog).