Oh my God! The Traffic

Elephant truck 2

Whether in Beijing, Shanghai or Hongzhou the traffic is an nightmare. I sit in the back seat and cringe. The traffic is endless and unrelenting , but more so the drivers are all cowboys. Lanes, lights and traffic signs are only guidelines and aggressive driving is the only way to survive. The road is shared with bicycles and all manner of tri-wheeled vehicles or boxes on wheels. Bicyclists drive fearlessly through the traffic and face off taxi drivers and buses. I was warned early on the pedestrians have no right of way, and will be run down by cars and bicyclists alike.

In Beijing, where everywhere is under construction, there is a ton of people everywhere loading, unloading or moving stones. I saw a bicyclist toting three hundred pounds of concrete on his bike. Jim says he’s seen bicycles with full sized refrigerators strapped on either side of the bike.

Drivers here must have nerves of steel. Switching lanes, cutting, driving in the pedestrian lanes, driving on the shoulder to pass, crazy cross-braided merge lanes, all appear to be normal.

Beijing, 2007

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