Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Shanghai buses

I'd never taken a bus until a week ago, but I had to meet a friend. So I asked a few questions of a coworker, and learned that it was 2 RMB to get on the bus no matter how far you went. So armed with this knowledge, I located a suitable bus and hopped on it, taking a seat somewhere near the middle.

Just as the bus took off, a Chinese man hopped in getting squashed by the door in the process. Inside, he reached to get his public transport card out to swipe it as the bus driver took off. The force of acceleration pushed him back, so that he fell on his backside on the bus steps. For the next ten seconds, unable to get up he tried to strain against the force of acceleration reaching futilely to get his card close enough to the reader. It was like a bad comedy, and I couldn't help but be amused by the sight.

Halfway to my destination, the bus driver had to pull to a sudden stop when the bus in front of his did the same. Behind me, I could hear someone slam into something and cry out. Oooof! It sure sounded like it hurt a lot, but there was no fuss raised, so it can't have been too brutal.

This shit wouldn't fly in New Zealand.

What I did not learn from my coworker however, was how you get off a Chinese bus. There are no stop buttons, like there are in every other country I have lived in. Apparently they stop at every bus stop, you just have to stand up and get ready to hop off.

When I got to my destination, I ended up sitting in a park for an hour or so. The mosquitos here are vicious. I took a survey of how many bites there were on my legs the next day, and there were eighteen. Everyone else has started wearing jeans and longer pants, so I guess that's a wise move and it serves me right for wearing shorts.

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