Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Driving in China

Many thanks to those of you who have made comments and sent me messaages. I read all of them today and caught up on what people have said. I enjoyed hearing from you. Unfortunately, I wanted to reply to some of the comments and it didn't give me the e-mail address of the person making the comment.

Today, I have worked on learning how to add pictures but they are always added at the top of my blog, not at the place where I want them. Our dear, sweet secretary at PTC has been inserting them for me. They say you can't teach old dogs new tricks and I guess that's partially true, but I never expected that I'd be doing a blog in any shape or fashion. Anyway, I've written Jennifer to tell me how to do it so I can try to learn.

I must tell you a little about how they drive in China. I've been driving over 50 years, but there's no way I would try it here. If there are two lanes, you can be sure the Chinese have made it a 3-lane road. If you drive in the middle over the line, you can work your way into traffic either to the right or left. There are 10 rules of the road, but David, one of our workers, could only remember two of them. He's a new driver so he better know all of them to survive. He said the two he could remember are these:

1) Whoever gets there first, gets to go first.
2) If the other vehicle is larger than yours, they get to go first.

Taxi cabs can work their way into any traffic, in front of buses, around pedestrians and bikers with skill. If I drove in China, I would really hate taxi drivers! No one stops for pedestrians and pedestrians are so brave they venture out even if cars are coming so they only know Rule #1. Drivers seem to think if you have time to just get a corner of your car in front of someone, you can soon pull ahead of them, and it's true. There seem to be no rules concerning right-of-ways. If there are laws, they are not observed by any driver. I cannot imagine how any policeman could determine who's to blame for any accident. Horns are always blowing. I told Ron that there are so many people in the road (they seem to prefer walking in the road than on the sidewalk) if you gave them the right-of-way, you would never get anywhere. I decided the horn is used to say, "I'm coming through so watch out." Some drivers do use turn signals but most just use their horn. The only good thing about driving in China is that you have to drive slowly. There are just too many cars, buses, motor bikes, bicycles, carts, 3-wheel vehicles, and pedestrians to go fast. There would be many more accidents if people could travel at a faster speed. So, that's the good news about driving and surviving!

By the way, this is the way people stand in line also. You don't make a straight line - you spread out and that way you can work yourself in and get ahead. When we arrive at the train station, we get in a long line for a taxi. Well, it's not really a line. As I said - it's just a mob of people in one area and as the mob moves forward, people push and go around everyone in any way they can. I saw one old lady (older than me) work her way through 50 people to get ahead for a taxi. I think they learned how to do this from taxi drivers!

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