... And why bother even thinking about it when in the large cities, taxis are inexpensive, the drivers use a meter and don't have a habit of ripping off the tourist.
|Driving and parking on the footpath.|
I've been a passenger a number of times in private cars, tour cars and taxis, in different cities in China, and have observed some very big differences between driver habits in Australia and there.
At first the traffic seems chaotic, with people driving on the wrong side of the road, riding e-bikes on the footpath, parking on the footpath, casually crossing double lines and tooting repeatedly.
But when observed over a few days it settles into a pattern. On the whole, tooting is not aggressive, it's to alert another driver that you're there or overtaking. Drivers
are occasionally pushy, particularly in the larger cities, but rarely show the overt, nasty and aggressive
overtone, complete with foul abuse and rude hand gestures that is prevalent in
|Learning to drive on the footpath at an early age! I asked permission to photograph this child, and dad, with the remote control firmly in hand was happy to oblige.|
|Remind me again.|
Which lane goes in which direction?
The word “accepting” came to mind. As if drivers understand and accept that a taxi will stop at the curb waiting for passengers to fill the seats with parcels, and people need to get settled before setting off. Drivers give way. Driving with alcohol in your system is illegal so our drivers didn't drink at all. They don’t (on the whole) push in, determined to be first, to show who’s more powerful or more of a bully. They generally don't speed. Of course there are exceptions to all observations, but it's common to see and experience foul rudeness and dangerous driving within minutes of getting into a car in Australia (at least in Melbourne it is).
|Well organised chaos.|
|Learning to stroll in to the middle of the road with the locals.|
|Great little 3 wheeled taxis. Apparently driven by disabled people.|
|Hire bikes are common, and seemingly everywhere.|
|E-bikes and clothing sheltering from the rain. |
The adoption of electric bicycles, scooters and larger bikes over the years has made a massive difference to the levels of pollution. It's now possible to walk along many major streets without gagging in the fumes. Of course there's still a long way to go, but they've made huge inroads. C'mon Australia we're being left behind!
My previous posts about Teaching in China were our Arrival, Banquets, Culture and comfort foods . The next one will be about Exercise.