Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Guangzhou Traffic

I have my first official meeting with my superiors later today, so that should be good for some blog fodder, but until then I'd like to take some time to talk about the traffic here in Guangzhou. I've heard people complain about traffic in pretty much every American city, but believe when I say that you have it soft.

To begin with, there aren't really lanes in Guangzhou. Oh, they have yellow lines painted on the road, but they aren't lanes, merely a suggestion of lanes. "Hey," the line will say, "why don't you follow the path I've set out? Oh....you don't want to? That's cool too." It's like making the captain of the chess club a hall monitor in San Quentin Prison, they just don't quite have the gall to actually get anyone to listen. Even the lauded middle line fails in its duty.

"Alright, you are not allowed to cross me, and I mean it!," the middle line shouts impotently as my taxi barrels into on-coming traffic, in part to pass a slow-moving bus in front of us, in part to avoid the guy from on-coming traffic who had swerved into our lane. I gripped the dashboard white-knuckled, but the driver seemed relatively unfazed.

The concept that streets are for vehicles and sidewalks are for pedestrians is another traditional western traffic sacrement that Guangzhou loves to violate. As I was walking down to a bookstore, I hear a loud honking coming from behind and leap out of the way of a speeding motorbike. I would have found this odd if it weren't for the fact that I'd earlier that day had to avoid a taxi that was careening down the sidewalk.

I think I'll stick with the bus.

1 comment:

Der verwirrte Ausländer said...

As far as traffic goes, I can't relate, but I would like to say that, however organized the Germans are, they must have some kind of governor when it comes to public safety concerns. I think they'd be just as happy to change you into a grease spot to add to a stack of mashed potatoes and bacon than stop for you....I ate that, but that's another post. Oh, and German men piss with the door open, no matter where they are, no joke. Later